WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - One in 83 children in Indiana will be diagnosed with autism this year.
This striking number is what caught the attention of the director of the Harley Owner Group, or HOG, in Lafayette Al Shaffer who helped organize a charity ride to raise money for a disorder that affects so many people.
"It's very special. It's close to our hearts, we all know someone who has autism and I think that it's one that is overlooked quite a bit and we want to draw attention to it so everybody knows about it and everybody supports it," Shaffer said.
The ride was was 88 miles long and all the money raised will help the Cornerstone Autism Foundation in West Lafayette purchase iPads for children with autism.
Executive Director of Cornerstone David Ide said the iPads have been a helpful tool for therapists when working with the children.
"A device that our kiddos tend to naturally gravitate to because they don't talk back to them and they act in a very predictable way," Ide said. "There is a natural proclivity for our kiddos to be drawn to them."
A mother of two children diagnosed with autism, Natalee Mace said an iPad changed her son's life. She said within 48 hours of getting an iPad her son was able to communicate with her for the first time.
Mace said the support from the community is overwhelming and she wants to thank the HOG association of Lafayette for making dreams come true.
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much," Mace said. "You're changing lives with this donation. I don't think you realize the impact you will have on these children but you will give them a voice for the first time. You will decrease frustration and more than anything you will bring a smile to their faces and that's what it's all about. So thank you so much."
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