8th annual ‘Puzzle Palooza’ seeks to unite special needs community


By Morgan Bryce

Seamless and the Autism Society of East Alabama are hosting the eighth annual “Puzzle Palooza” event for Opelika and Lee County children with special needs June 1 from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. at Spring Villa Park.
According to Event Organizer Luanne Helms, the free event will feature sensory-friendly activities including arts and crafts stations, inflatable games like basketball and t-ball, music from Deejay Marcus Smiths along with drinks and hamburgers and hotdogs provided by Backwater BBQ. Safety identification kits with fingerprints and photos will also be available for families during the event.
Volunteers from Auburn University’s Alpha Xi Delta sorority will help with the event and Lee County Sheriff’s Office representatives will bring their Lego truck for children to interact with.
Puzzle Palooza follows April’s annual “Going Blue for Autism” event in downtown Opelika, which aims to raise awareness about autism in Lee County. Helms, mother of a son with nonverbal autism, said these events provide a crucial outlet for both children and their parents or families.
“(During the last few years) it’s really brought the entire special needs community of Lee County together. I’ve met moms with kids who have other disabilities that I didn’t think about,” Helms said. “We all have one common denominator and it’s great for us to have the chance to be around others who know what we’re going through.”
In case of rain, the event will be rescheduled for a later date in the summer.
For more information, contact Helms via email at helmslu@gmail.com or by calling 334-707-0116. The park is located at 1474 Lee Road 148.


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