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Fundraiser to support respite, camp programs offered by Children's Autism Services of Edmonton

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For the second year in a row, a local salon is leading an autism fundraising and awareness campaign. 

The money raised by Beaners, a brand that specializes in children's hair cuts, will benefit Children's Autism Services of Edmonton, which offers respite support for parents and a summer camp for kids with autism. 

"These types of programs are not funded through traditional sources," the agency's Scott Wilson told CTV News Edmonton. 

"So this allows us to have the funding that we need to be able to go and buy the equipment, create the programs and give those kids that little bit of a step into the community."

Beaners says it became involved with the advocacy and fundraising work because it understands that parents sometimes need a helping hand. 

"With my son being on the spectrum as well, I can understand where they’re coming from," Fallon Grant, a stylist at Beaners Fun Cuts in St. Albert, said. 

"I play with the kids. I just get it."

"You can tell she knows what she's doing," commented Bryan Rubio, whose son Max was diagnosed with autism at three years old. 

Hair cuts can be a stressful experience for people with autism, given the sensations of the clippers and wet hair, Wilson explained. 

"She’s got more experience with kids like this so it’s a perfect place for them," Rubio said of Beaners. 

Rubio uses the respite services provided by Children's Autism Services of Edmonton and says the program is a great relief. 

"We have a respite that comes in three hours a week. Three hours a week is a big difference to take a breather," he told CTV News Edmonton. 

The campaign runs until the end of April, which is Autism Awareness Month. 

Children's Autism Services of Edmonton estimates one in 66 children will be diagnosed with autism. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson