JOHNSTOWN, Pa (WTAJ)–Over 250 students gathered in Johnstown Wednesday afternoon to celebrate Autism Awareness Month at the fifth-annual Autism Walk and Resources Fair. That is the first time the walk has occurred since the pandemic.

This fair took place at Hiram G. Andrews Center, where they hosted nine schools across the districts. It aims to celebrate individuals on the autism spectrum and provide an opportunity for local students to experience the state-operated school’s offerings of postsecondary education, pre-employment transition, and support services.

Each year, the committee hosts the fair on a different theme. This year’s theme involved bears of popular franchises—some of those include Winnie the Pooh, Baloo from the Jungle Book, and Fozzy Bear from the Muppets.

Psychological Service Associate and one of the event coordinators, Cherylann Falsone, said that it’s essential to develop communication skills and interact with individuals. Using these skills could evolve into kindness and respecting differences.

“We just have to learn to be more accepting of people’s individuality. Sometimes, a person’s individuality maybe unique, hard to understand, maybe difficult for some of us to understand,” Falsone said. “But the importance is everyone’s individuality is important.”

Falsone said that this is the largest group of students they’ve had. She also noted how excited everyone was to be back.