Arts, Beats & Eats: Raising autism awareness

Royal Oak event prides itself on being autism friendly

By Evrod Cassimy - Reporter/Anchor

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Families are enjoying a free meal together at Town Tavern ahead of Arts, Beats and Eats this weekend. They're part of a special group attending the event on Saturday and Monday. "We went last year," said parent Joan Kern. "We had a great time! it's such a nice place to go because a lot of kids have disabilities and they make the rides a little shorter."

This group is made up of parents of children with autism, the kids themselves and people involved in the event. Arts, Beats and Eats will open up an hour earlier this weekend for families of a child with autism to enjoy.

Families and the children with autism who attend get free parking, free admission and free food from a number of places including Town Tavern. They also get to attend the event when it's less crowded, something that the children with autism definitely need.

"When you have someone with autism, sometimes the environment can get a little over stimulating," said Kern.

"What we do is we have a special entrance for the families and their kids so they can come right in," said event sponsor Mike O'Brien with Ford Motor Company. "We keep the music and everything to a minimum to accommodate their needs."

Along with all the fun art, music and food, the families can also learn about changes to autism laws.

"We will have an information table available at the event so families can ask questions," said  Colleen Allen with the Autism Alliance of Michigan.

"It's a great opportunity," said Kern. "It's a wonderful idea and we're thankful for that."

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