BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota Autism Connection is marking April with special events. That's because this month is Autism Awareness Month.
It's a typical Friday night for many of these middle and high schoolers. Hanging out with friends, laughing and playing games. It's also about making new friends for people like Cain Kaiser, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of four.
“It was kind of confusing for me back then,” Kaiser said. “Back then I said that my brain learned in a different way and as I got older I kind of figured out what it meant.”
While he doesn't know many people in the room, he will after they share hours battling it out to see who can cross the finish line first. But this first ever game night, sponsored by North Dakota Autism Connection, isn't really about who comes out on top.
“I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about autism,” ND Autism Connection board member Lorena Poppe said. “And so events like this offer an opportunity to start discussion and to have conversations about autism.”
Students from the Horizon Buddies middle school program also turned out. The program matches kids with special needs with other kids, giving them a chance to hang out and support each other outside of school.
“They're the same as us on the inside so we really want to give them an opportunity to have a bunch of fun like us,” Kamryn Pehl with Horizon Buddies said.
And there's no doubt that a lot of fun was had.
To find out more about North Dakota Autism Connection, head to ndautismconnection.org.