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New autism support group starts in Hannibal

New autism support group starts in Hannibal
Next meeting is Feb. 6

Hannibal, Mo. – Everyone in the area impacted by autism is welcome to come to a new support group.
The Autism Advocate Support Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at NorthEast Independent Living Services (NEILS), 909 Broadway, Suite 350, in Hannibal. The meeting will be on the second floor, and parking is available at the back of the building.
Lindsay Spalding, independent living advocate at NEILS, is heading the group for now. There’s a need for such a group because parents with children on the autism spectrum often have to travel far to connect with other parents, she said.
“Northeast Missouri is filled with several small rural communities of which there is not a lot of knowledge about autism. Sometimes, groups have to travel great distances to meet with others and it becomes hard to be an active participant. The creation of this group was meant to bring members of surrounding communities together to share their experience with autism and how it has changed their lives,” Spalding said.
The meetings will provide the participants with valuable information, resources throughout the community, information on services available, and the chance to meet others.
“Hopefully through these meetings we can begin to educate the public on autism and become active participants in promoting acceptance,” Spalding said.
Parents of children on the autism spectrum are welcome to come to support and learn from each other, as well as others interested in learning about autism.
“These meetings will facilitate a warm environment for individuals to be uncensored when sharing the impact autism has had on their lives,” she said.
For now, the plan is for the support group to meet on a monthly basis. However, as more people join and take an interest in the group, there may be changes. The direction of the group depends on what the members would like to do, Spalding said, adding there are opportunities to participate in runs and walks, fundraisers, educating the public, and helping to expand resources in the community.
For more information, call Lindsay Spalding at 573-221-8282 or send her an e-mail at