Mayor Gregg Hull recognized April as Autism Awareness Month at the City Council meeting March 23.

Elevate the Spectrum, an autism awareness group in Rio Rancho, spoke at the council meeting about the Inclusion of Play event set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 6.

“This is a tremendous event where a lot of people come together to support each other, especially in the autism community,” Hull said. The event has been on hold for a few years due to the COVID pandemic.

One of the board members of Elevate the Spectrum, Diana Stone, thanked Hull and acknowledged their seven years of working together. “Visually you can see other disabilities, but knowledge of this disability is the type that gets spread in the community,” Stone said.

Stone also brought up her own son, who has autism.

“I was tired of the scared looks from parents, who didn’t know how to see my son,” she said.

Stone says autism has become more talked about and isn’t “shameful” anymore. “It is worth it to hear someone say they are proud to know someone with autism,” she added.

Stone believes the Rio Rancho community has grown to accept people with autism.