The annual ‘Walk for autism’ charity event, hosted by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), has been launched with thousands of people preparing to walk 10,000 steps a day over eight days, or 10,000 steps a day over 16 days, to fundraise and increase understanding of autism.

In its eighth year, the event kicks off on March 25 until April 1. There is no set event location so participants can walk anywhere, at any time, in any place.  

Raegan Glazner and her son, Rocky who was diagnosed at age 3, are enthusiastic participants in the Walk for autism.

“As a parent, hearing the official diagnosis for the first time was scary, and this came just before the world went into lockdown”, Glazner said. “A lot of our early journey was spent at home and that gave me the space to read and research.

“Rocky is an extraordinary person, the world just doesn’t necessarily fit his needs, so I am learning to adapt his world for him. I have become more aware of sensory issues, but I don’t see them as issues, they are more like sensory feelings as Rocky has a heightened feeling for things. Our aim as Rocky’s family has always been to educate ourselves about life on the autism spectrum and do as much as we possibly can to support him.”

Raegan and her family have participated in Walk for autism since Rocky’s diagnosis in 2020.

Aspect CEO Jacqui Borland said the event is much more than a fundraising initiative, it is also about addressing the lack of understanding in the community about what autism means and how it can help to support those on the autism spectrum.

“We know many people are reluctant to disclose their diagnosis of autism due to uncertainty over how it will be received, so our Walk for autism event is about celebrating, educating and raising understanding of autism within the broad community,” she said.

This year, Walk for autism aims to raise more than $1.1 million and coincides with World Autism Understanding Day.

Photo: Raegan and Rocky Glazner

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