“Yes day for Autism” inaugural event to be held at Tempe Beach Park

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On October 24th, the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center will hold its first “Yes day for autism” at Tempe Beach Park. It’s an event to help with acceptance and education about autism. Daniel Openden, President and CEO of SARRC discussed the resources with us.

For years, SARRC was involved in a national organization where half would stay in Arizona and half would go to the national organization. “This year, every single dollar that is raised will stay in Arizona for Arizona families,” Openden said.

Openden added that there are now 1-in-54 children that are diagnosed with autism. “We know that there is also misdiagnosed and undiagnosed adults out there as well,” he said.

SARRC has an app where one can be anywhere in the country, and the app will connect a person to services.

When talking about if the acceptance of autism has changed over the years, Openden said he likes to think it has. “I like to think SARRC plays a part in that.” Phoenix was named the most autism-friendly city in 2016.

While Openden said there are successes, he says there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. “We still need to get better at identifying kids younger, and we need pediatricians screening for autism.”

SARRC has partnerships with schools and organizations across the Valley.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the SARRC. “We are implementing safety protocols, but are models are now starting to run like they used to,” he mentioned. “We want people with autism to have the most social interaction as possible.”

SARRC’s “Yes Day for Autism” partners with 30 different non-profit organizations.

Daniel Openden/President & CEO, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center

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