PLATTSBURGH? The third annual Autism Awareness Walk held last Sunday at the U.S. Oval drew support from all sorts of people, young and old. The annual walk is held to raise money to benefit two national organizations, Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks, both of which are dedicated to raising awareness and funding research to learn more about the disorder now being described as a growing epidemic - and a wonderful after school program offered at Plattsburgh State University. Autism spectrum disorder affects an average of 1 in every 150 children, making it more prevalent than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Autism is a neurobiological disorder that affects children from all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a persons ability to speak and communicate with others, with other symptoms that range from mild to severe. During the opening ceremonies Assemblywoman Janet Duprey shared the story of her Autism Puzzle pin, which she wears every day on her lapel. I wear it there to keep my special grandson, Jeremy, close to my heart, she shared. The pin she said was also representative of the puzzle associated with the unknowns about Autism. Duprey vowed to continue her push for a state-wide Autism Council and for Jonathans Law, a New York legislative measure co-sponsored by Harvey Weisenberg (DLong Beach), which would allow access to all child abuse investigation files and medical history records to parents and legal guardians. The law was created in response to a case in which the state of New Yorks Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities prevented the family of Jonathan Carey from accessing records relating to their son, who had been diagnosed with severe autism. Jonathan attended the private Anderson School in Dutchess County in 2004, where he was often mistreated but was unable to speak or tell his parents what happened to him. Duprey also said she would continue to push to see that such conditions as Autism and related syndromes were recognized and covered by medical insurance providers. Clinton Community College President Maurice Moe Hickey also spoke to the crowds as they prepared for the walk. Im here because Im Mickeys dad, and Mickey has Autism, he said. This is a true demonstration of how everyone comes together (in support), Hickey said of the tremendous turnout.