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April Is National Autism Awareness Month

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The month of April is National Autism Awareness month. In Calaveras County, perhaps no clinic is more familiar with autism than Mind Matters.

Dr. Ryan Thompson, Founder and Executive Director, was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

Mind Matters is a non-profit treatment center devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and support of individuals and their families with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD), Learning Disabilities and related issues using biomedical, psychological, social and technological approaches.

Located in Murphys, California, Mind Matters serves as a community resource to patients, their families, educators and government agencies to educate and advocate for services available to affected individuals.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

In December 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. The spotlight shown on autism opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.

There will be two events in Calaveras county this month focusing on Autism in Calaveras.

Saturday, April 14 will be the first annual Off the Beaten Path – Walk/Run for Autism Awareness. Participants will have the chance to take part in either a 5-mile run or a 2.5-mile walk or run beginning in the Murphys Community Park at 9 a.m. and continuing past rolling hills and beautiful vineyards. Check-in time will start at 8 a.m.

The entry fee is $15 for those registering before event day. On-site registrations will be $20. Each participant will receive a specially designed t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded to the man and woman with the best times in the 5-mile run, and the boy and girl under 12 with the best times in the 2.5-mile run.

Entry blanks are available at many locations including the Mind Matters office, 150 Big Trees Rd. in Murphys. They may also be downloaded from the Mind Matters website. Several individuals, organizations, and business have signed on to be sponsors of these events. Their underwriting will enable Mind Matters to raise funds to further its programs. 

The second event is the premiere performance of “The Autism Chronicles” in the Bret Harte Performing Arts Center, 323 S. Main St., Angels Camp. The play, written by Mark Wilson and directed by his wife Terri, uses the dramatic story of the creation of the Mind Matters clinic to give the audience an insight into the world of autism.

Mark Wilson, who is the chairman of the Mind Matters Board of Directors spent many hours interviewing clinic staff and those who have been served by clinic’s offerings and services.

The result is a series of vignettes told in the actual words of the characters portrayed.

“The Autism Chronicles” is being produced in conjunction with the Murphys Creek Theatre. Admission is ten dollars.

For more information, log on to 

Further information is available at (209) 728-2184.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am