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Copperas Cove ISD hosts 7th annual autism awareness walk

Special to the Leader-Press 

More than 300 students and their families are expected to step out and prove that autism is not a disability but a different ability at CCISD’s 7th Annual Autism Awareness Walk at Hanke Stadium on Saturday. 
This year’s walk theme is Color the World with Kindness. April is Autism Awareness Month.
With morning temperatures slated in the early 70s at the start of the walk at 10 a.m., students will enjoy a variety of sensory activities at more than 30 booths while dancing with cheerleaders, competing in roller scooter limbo and more. 
Children receive a booth bingo card and receive a bag of prizes courtesy of Extraco Banks once they have filled every square by visiting the various booths and trying the different activities. 
“I am happy to be a part of Extraco and the values we place when it comes to family first and our values on what we want to support personally. This is personally very dear to my heart as my 12-year-old son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3,” said Extraco Relationship Banking Supervisor Tiffany Holley. “I am excited that Extraco was able to be a part of the autism walk in Copperas Cove this year and many years ahead.” 
Copperas Cove ISD has conducted an autism awareness walk for six years and plans to continue the annual event for families like the Garza family whose son, Alex, was also diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.
“Having the opportunity to share our children’s story with our community brings us all joy. The autism awareness walks are always memorable to the children and all involved. The opportunity to visit and see each child in his or her own special way is always a great pleasure,” Alex’s mother, Briana Garza said. 
Copperas Cove High School general education students including members of the CCHS JROTC, HOSA, AVID, football players, CCJHS Starlettes and Cheerleaders, Student 2 Student Groups, 4-H, and special education staff from every campus offer enticing sensory activities and various games for students being honored at the event. Rocks & Roots Realty Group and Accurate Construction are also sponsoring the event. 
“I feel the way people see and interact with my son has made a huge impact in his life. He has love for everyone. He has grown so much and has been accepted for who he is. He will leave you with a smile on a bad day. He will give you a hug when needed,” Garza said. “Alex has grown to be a loving young boy. I thank my community for accepting him and his peers for who they are.”

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