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Hope Network to Host Events for Autism Acceptance Month

April 11, 2024 | WOOD TV 8: Click to View Original Story

Autism Acceptance Month Events
In honor of National Autism Acceptance Month, Hope Network is offering opportunities for the community to support the non-profit’s mission of providing support for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.

On Friday, Hope Network is partnering with the Griffins to provide a fun night of hockey against the Rockford Ice Dogs. The event will feature a ceremonial puck drop from Hope Network President and CEO Bob Von Kaenel, special promotions including $2 beers and hot dogs, and a postgame Hope Network jersey auction.

Proceeds from ticket sales and the jersey auction will benefit the Hope Network Foundation and the Center for Autism. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the game starts at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.

On April 25, Hope Network will once again host its annual Bridge Walk for Autism. The walk will take place from 5:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We’re really excited to be able to continue to do this event. It’s for the whole community, anybody who is neurodiverse, has autism, wants to get together — I encourage them to register on the Hope Network website and they can come walk with us and then after the walk is the night at the museum,” said Maggie Moore, executive director of Hope Network Center for Autism.

A free sensory night at the Grand Rapids Public Museum lasts from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on April 25. Museum staff will adjust sound and lights and provide activities for attendees within the current exhibits to create a low-sensory experience.

CDC data shows ASD affects 1 in 36 children compared to 1 in 54 a decade ago. Demand for testing and treatment has increased significantly, highlighting the need for experts trained in Applied Behavior Analysis.

“The rates of autism continue to increase, the needs of the community continue to increase and we’re here to support them,” Moore said.

In March, Hope Network invited the community to an open house at its Holland Center for Autism to explore breakthrough therapies and future initiatives. The Holland location is one of four specialized facilities operated by Hope Network in Michigan. The center has a team of 30 experts offering ABA to nearly 30 individuals ranging from 18 months to 21 years old.

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