Laurie Running of Advocates for Developmental Disabilities was a guest on AM 1390's Talk of the Town. The focus was on Autism Awareness Month. Currently there are probably over 100 children with some degree of autism. There are around 78 in the Owatonna School district and when factoring the other Steele County towns it pushes the number up over that 100 mark.

Autism is a whole spectrum disorder. Individuals who have this affliction can be on different levels. For example, some cannot speak, some can speak a little and some more. There are instances where extreme intelligence is shown in certain fields or areas of interest. Most cases of autism are detected before the child reaches the age of 3. Some of the red flags include the lack of a smile or joyful expressions or lack of facial expression or sounds.

The ADD is offering a Raise the Barre Dance Workshop this Sunday, April 29 for all children between the ages of 5-14. This workshop will give those with a disability the opportunity to experience dance. It runs 1-2PM at Dynamic Fitness on Hoffman Drive in Owatonna. You can simply show up or you can pre-register and or find out more by calling (507)-451-9769.

There's also an Autism Spectrum Disorder Parent Support Group that meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at the Associated Church in Owatonna. Parents, grandparents siblings and those with autism are welcome. The gathering last from 6-7:30PM. Upcoming sessions are April 23 and in May it will be on the 22nd. Childcare is provided at these meetings as well.