Photos and report provided by Robert Noles/Opelika Observer
April, also known as “Go Blue for Autism Month” started off with a parade on Opelika’s Waverly Parkway as vehicles drove by the home of Jake Helms, who was sitting next to the road, enjoying the parade. The Opelika Police Department provided orange cones and signs to let everyone know to wave and honk as they passed. Leading the parade was an Opelika Fire Department fire truck, OFD Assistant Chief vehicle, EMT and Opelika Police units all with lights on, sirens blaring and personnel waving to Jake as they passed his home. Parade participants came from town and came back a second time as they were headed back to the station. There were several vehicles that passed and waved once they saw the signs. Others came to support the cause with signs taped on their vehicles that they held out the window to support both Jake and Autism Month. What was the parade about? Since 1972, the Autism Society has been bringing awareness about autism signs, symptoms and information about the mental disorder. Autism is rising in the United States, with statistics showing that 1-in-125 children in 2010 to 1-in-59 in 2020. Blue serves as the primary color for Autism Month, which is designed to inform the community through events, printable and digital resources, and partner with the community to raise autism awareness in the Auburn-Opelika area.