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North Shore autism walks draws 2,500, helps raise $225,000
Monday, May 04, 2015 Chicago Tribune by Daniel I. Dorfman
Amid the blaring music and festive atmosphere Sunday morning, Arlington Heights teacher Danuta Sala remembered her students who have been placed on the autism spectrum.
"The biggest challenge is trying to help autism kids in a traditional environment, as they are not traditional students. It takes understanding in how they learn best in order to help them. You can't help them, if you don't understand them," Sala noted. "They have a lot of talents that other students may not have, and it is important to find that talent to let them shine."
Connecting to the talents of those students takes time, patience and some financial assistance. Raising those necessary funds was a goal of the estimated 2,500 people who arrived at New Trier High School's Northfield campus to participate in the North Shore Walk Now For Autism Speaks.
This has become an annual effort to support Autism Speaks, an organization which raises funds for autism research, services and awareness, as one in 68 children are identified with the autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This local version of Walk Now For Autism Speaks is spearheaded by the Savitz family of Glencoe, as Tyler Savitz, now 16, was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. His older brother, Spencer, now a sophomore at Stanford University, was determined out to help out and created Team Tyler, which just this year has raised almost $70,000.