FORT LAUDERDALE —  Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, has announced that the 7th annual Broward County Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising and awareness event will take place on Saturday, April 14 at Nova Southeastern University.

All event proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, finance innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Broward County and beyond.

Autism spectrum disorder is now diagnosed in 1 in every 110 children, including 1 in 70 boys, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

The Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, raising more than  $28.5 million alone in 2011 in 85 cities across the U.S. and Canada to support autism research, awareness and advocacy.

Last year’s Broward County Walk Now for Autism Speaks attracted more than 7,000 walkers and raised more than $350,000. In addition to its national efforts, the organization has provided funding to local services providers, including Project LifeSaver through its Family Services Community Grant program. Autism Speaks science grants have supported research at The University of Miami and Florida International University.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks offers a safe and fun event for families impacted by autism. The day includes a two- to three-mile walk and Community Resource fair with educational sources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations, and creative child-friendly activities – a “one-stop-shop” for families affected by autism.

“Thanks to tremendous community support and the work of our wonderful volunteers, our Walk Now for Autism Speaks event has grown each year, and we expect to expand the ranks of both walkers and donors in 2012,” said Dianne Orr Walk chair. “In addition to raising funds and awareness, the Walk is a chance for families to come together and enjoy a day of laughter, hope and community. Working together, we are making great strides toward improving the lives of people with autism and their families.”

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