PuzzleMania raises awareness

YOUNGSTOWN – A puzzle assembling competition this week helped raise money to support programs for families with children with autism.

The Autism Society of Ohio hosted the PuzzleMania at the OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, where for three hours individuals and teams competed assembling 300- and 500-piece puzzles, with the first to complete their puzzle winning their category.

The event helped raised awareness for Autism Awareness Month. A puzzle piece is the official symbol for autism.

Aundrea Cika of the Autism Society of Ohio said the occurrence of children with autism has increased. Statistics show that one in 55 children have autism. More than a million people, including 50,000 in Ohio, are affected by autism, according to the Autism Society of Ohio.

She said there are many similarities between puzzles and autism, including the unique natures just as no two puzzle pieces are the same.

Organizers said the competition helps raise awareness about the disorder, and all the proceeds from the event will benefit educational and support programs that help families living with their child’s diagnosis.

For information on upcoming autism awareness events, visit autismohio.org.