Queens lawmaker partners with Community Board 9 for Autism Awareness walk event at Phil Rizzuto Park

Autism awareness concept with colorful hands on blue background. Top view.
Photo via Getty Images

April is Autism Awareness month and Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. is partnering with Community Board 9 for a community walk event to support those with autism and other developmental disabilities. 

The public is invited to participate in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Walk at Phil ‘Scooter’ Rizzuto Park/Smokey Oval from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.

During the event, participants will meet at the corner of 95th Avenue and 125th Street, where they will proceed to walk around the perimeter of the park four times. The walk will take place rain or shine.

Partners of the event include River Fund Inc., Heart of Gems, the Trinidadian and Tobagonian USA group, Bena Homecare Agency and EmblemHealth

Along the route, River Fund will have snacks and juice to distribute. Heart of Gems will also be handing out snacks and the Trinidadian and Tobagonian USA group will pass out small slices of pizza and mini cheese sandwiches for the walkers. Bena Homecare Agency will provide an autism backdrop for photos, and EmblemHealth will have a table set up to help sign up families that might need health insurance. 

“Autism can come in many different forms and affects each person with it differently, so because of that, each person with autism — and the families and loved ones that care for them — require different levels and types of care,” Addabbo said. “That is why it is vitally important that we are out here raising awareness for Autism Awareness Month. However, we are also walking to raise awareness of other developmental disabilities that impact so many lives right here in Queens, let alone across the country and the world.” 

Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to their surroundings, and form relationships with others. According to the CDC, in 2020 more than 5.4 million adults in the U.S. — or 2.2 percent of the population — are on the autism spectrum, and using data from 2020 the CDC estimates that 1 in 36 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with autism in 2023. 

Community Board 9 Chairperson Sherry Algredo, who is a mother of a son with autism, helped to plan the event with Addabbo. She is encouraging people to come out and join the group in support of a great cause. 

“This is not just a walk, but being able to also engage and speak with participating families and hearing about their struggles and need for more equitable and fair services for people with special needs. We are also very excited for the participation of other elected officials and their support,” Algredo said.