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      Genesee County families commemorate World Autism Day

      As thousands of landmarks and buildings across 90 countries were bathed in blue light to commemorate the sixth annual World Autism Day, families in Genesee County held a more modest vigil Tuesday night.

      The Autism Support and Resource Center invited parents and children to Physicians Park in Grand Blanc for a candlelight vigil.

      The group is run entirely by volunteers and hosts monthly support group meetings and social activities.

      Parents say the group is a reminder they're not alone in dealing with the daily challenges of autism and that it's a great way for children to make friends.

      ASRC President Amy Daleo said, "This group has been life-changing for me. For me, for my kids. My kids would not be as successful as they are now without this group." Daleo is a mother of two children with autism.

      â??Events like this, this candlelight vigil and people coming out to support us, it just lets me know once again that together, we can bring awareness to autism,â?? Charise Key said.

      ASRC's eigth annual Walk the Walk for Autism event is planned for Saturday, Sept. 14 at Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc.

      According to Autism Speaks, autism now affects roughly 1 in 88 children.

      World Autism Day was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults living with autism.