BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A group of people gathered together Saturday at the Biloxi Town Green in celebration of Autism Awareness month. TEAAM, or Together Enhancing Autism Awareness in Mississippi, hosted its 6th annual Walk for Autism.
Dr. Mark Yeager is the Executive Director of TEAAM Autism. His hope is that bringing people together like this will shed light on what he feels is an important topic.
"It's an exciting time because you begin to see how people connect in the autism community," said Yeager.
According to statistics, the rate of autism is now one in every 68 births. Yeager said the more that people talk about it, the more comfortable they become.
"We want people to be more aware, but at the same time, more accepting. That's really what we want the conversation to be," said Yeager.
TEAAM's chapter leader, Cindy McNelley, said families come to these events for a good time, but they are also looking for answers.
"They need services. They need organizations like this to help them out, you know, for training, and education," said McNelley.
One of those families was the Devers family. This was their first Autism Walk.
"Matthew was just diagnosed with Autism, so we're kind of new to all of this," Brandi Devers said about her son.
They said coming to the event gave them the confidence they needed.
"You learn that there's a support group out there. It's very heartening to know that. There's other people out there that are dealing with what you're dealing with," said Matthew's father, Wesley Devers.
Most of the parents at the event said they wouldn't know what to do without the support of TEAAM. Knowing that the support is there made the day even more enjoyable.
Proceeds from the walk went to help families send their children to Kamp Kaleidoscope, a summer camp for children and teens with Autism.