ST. LOUIS – There was a big show of support for increasing autism awareness this weekend. The St. Louis chapter of Autism Speaks hosted two community events Friday and Saturday.
The organization held a fundraiser at historic Soulard restaurant Hammerstone's on Friday. The restaurant was full of customers and people who took part in a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for Cardinals tickets in an effort to raise funds.
St. Louis musician Steve Reeb also performed during the event. He's been involved in the St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, music scene for years.
5 On Your Side's Christina Coleman and her husband Eric Messersmith emceed the event. They're son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2-years-old.
Corey Hammerstone created a signature blue drink in honor of the event. Members of the 5 On Your Side news team also showed up to the fundraiser at Hammerstone's.
Autism Speaks hosted a presentation for families Saturday morning at “We Rock the Spectrum” in Fenton. It has an inclusive indoor playground designed to provide all children, including children with autism, with a safe place to play.
Parents learned how Autism Speaks helps families at the presentation.
PHOTOS: Autism Speaks events at Hammerstones and We Rock the Spectrum-Fenton
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Autism currently affects 1 in 59 children and it is four times as likely in boys. Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the U.S. Autism costs a family an average of $60,000 annually.
Autism Speaks helps family find resources to help their loved ones. The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of Young Children was created specifically for families of children ages 4 and under to make the best possible use of the 100 days following their child's diagnosis of autism.
Autism Speaks also announced $1.5 million in funding for two clinical trials to evaluate new medical and behavioral therapies, with an emphasis on addressing the physical and mental health conditions that frequently accompany autism.
5 On Your Side is a sponsor of the St. Louis chapter Autism Speaks Walk. It will take place on October 13 in Forest Park. If you would like to join a team click here.
You can also sign up or donate to the team that Christina Coleman created for son. It's called Team Max. You visit her team page by clicking here.