Mayor proclaims April as “Autism Awareness Month”

left to right: Chayland Trabeau (grandfather), Susie Trabeau (grandmother), Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, Brent Duplessis (father), and Jamie Tindle of Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge, stand with Gage Duplessis and a proclamation stating April 2015 as “Autism Awareness Month” in the City of Gonzales.

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux proclaimed April 2015 as “Autism Awareness Month” at City Hall Monday night. Mayor Arceneaux presented a proclamation to Jamie Tindle, Executive Director of Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge.

Autism also known as the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge is a “non-profit family driven resource center for people with disabilities and all ages,” Tindle said.

She thanked the mayor and council for their support of autism awareness.

“For the city to proclaim April as Autism Awareness Month means so much,” Tindle said. “I know Mayor Arceneaux has been a big supporter of autism for so long and we appreciate you so much. It means so much to us for the City of Gonzales to want to do this for us.”

Tindle said one in 68 children are now diagnosed with autism, and one in 54 boys. If you take the population that you have in Gonzales and do the math, “almost everybody knows somebody who is affected by autism these days,” she said.

The Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge is hosting its sixth annual Active for Autism 5K run/walk and funfest on April 18 at the Louisiana State Police Headquarters located at 7919 Independence Blvd. in Baton Rouge.

In Mayor Arceneaux’s proclamation, he encouraged “all citizens” to participate in it.

Tindle said the walk promotes awareness of autism and it promotes “acceptance and inclusion of those with autism.”

Tindle also brought a family from Gonzales who has a son that has autism, Gage Duplessis. Duplessis’ grandmother, Susie Trabeau, spoke to those gathered at City Hall Monday and said the walk is really a special event for special kids.

“If you don’t have a team to walk with, find us and we’ll be glad to let you all walk with us,” Trabeau said. “You can help carry [Gage] or pull him in the wagon if you have strong backs.”

Trabeau added: “If you know anyone, please send them to Jamie (Tindle) because they have been a lifeline for us learning all the issues we have and learning it’s not really a disability; it’s making him a special piece of a special puzzle.”