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Maryland lawmakers celebrate World Autism Acceptance Day

Posted at 8:09 PM, Apr 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-02 20:09:55-04

COLUMBIA, Md. — It's World Autism Acceptance Day, and in honor of this special day, Maryland lawmakers and the Department of Recreation & Parks celebrated with "Autism in the Park."

The event is designed to encourage community members to learn more about autism while providing an all-inclusive space for children with disabilities to interact with other kids their age.

Held at Laura's Place in Howard, the "play-for-all" inclusive playground was designed to enable children of all ability levels to play together while accommodating cognitive, communication, social/emotional, and sensory challenges.

Howard County has Maryland's highest per capita autism incidence, according to the Howard County Autism Society.

Howard County's Department of Recreation and Park Director A. Raul Delerme hopes that spaces like Laura's place will teach citizens the practice of inclusion throughout their daily lives.

"In addition to being an incredibly fun event, it is an opportunity for children of all ages to learn how to interact with their peers with disabilities – both on and off the playground," said Delerme. "We hope that this practice of inclusion continues throughout their lives."

The free event featured interactive play, entertainers, face painting, music, ice cream, and opportunities to visit with first responders.

"In Howard County, we want to create a community where all of our residents have the resources they need, regardless of age or ability, to not only survive but thrive," said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. "Throughout this month, I encourage our community to learn more about autism and increase your understanding so that there is worldwide support and acceptance for our residents of all abilities."