Autism program with waitlist preps for IceHogs fundraiser

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- The start of 2019 has been a busy one for The Autism Program of Easterseals in Rockford and it's not going to slow down anytime soon.

Based at the University of Illinois College of Medicine - Rockford campus, Easterseals now has a wait-list for anyone needing any screening or diagnostic process.

They have received more referrals and requests for these services. Lori Davie, Program Manager for Easterseals says that they are running out of time slots to fill for these appointments.

She says, "I'm already at 69 screenings and we wanted to be very transparent for our referral sources and our families. The longer plan for the organization is to seek additional funding and donations to cover the cost of these screenings and to make more time slots available for them.

While Lori says that the wait-list keeps getting longer, an upcoming event later this month at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford is sure to help alleviate the back log.

The 7th Annual "Autism Awareness Night" is being held on January 26, when the IceHogs take on the Wild for the game that evening when the puck drops at 6 p.m. The IceHogs have teamed up with the Easterseals for many years have many things planned for this year's event.

There will be a scavenger hunt around the area, information booths from Easterseals about Autism spectrum and other disability screenings and a silent auction for player baskets where each player picked out their favorite items and put them up for auction.

In addition, the IceHogs produced special hockey jerseys for the event along with producing mystery pucks signed by both IceHogs and Chicago Blackhawks players. All of these items will be available for purchase on the night of the event.

Mike Peck, Director of Business Operations for the Rockford IceHogs says the organization is honored to continue their work for such a great cause. He says, "You look at what the autism program is doing and how they're affecting and helping families in such a positive way. That's what makes it feel really good, to be a part of. Lori and her team over there have been great partners with the IceHogs and it's been a process to build this night up. I think our fans have really embraced autism awareness night."

Lori Davies says it's important to get screened as early as possible and that it may take some extra time to get screened because of the wait-list. She says, "And it's so important to get the kids screened and assessed as early as possible. And if it's not autism then we can rule that out and get them where they need to be and connected with those agencies to get them the help they need. We are here for you, know that it will not be tomorrow."

$5 of every ticket purchased will go directly to The Autism Program of Easterseals in addition to the money raised for the items purchased from the scavenger hunt, mystery pucks and silent auction.