It is easy for Janna Marxuach-Steur to remember how she felt when her son was diagnosed with autism.
"I felt very lost at times," she said. "It seemed as if there were people who cared, but not many who could help me.
"I went from agency to agency trying to find some answers. Everyone had a lot of respect and sympathy, but not anything they could offer."
Three years ago, Marxuach-Steur met a group of mothers who were going through the same things. They formed a support group and, two years ago, established the Yampa Valley Autism Program. As a group, they have organized training for local health care and education professionals and brought experts to town to speak about autism.
On April 29, the Yampa Valley Autism Program will hold "Puzzles," a fund-raiser for their organization.
"The puzzle has become the national symbol for a person with autism," Marxuach-Steur said. "It's such a complicated and unusual disorder. A person with autism can be anything from mentally disabled to gifted. Dealing with an autistic child becomes about figuring out all the pieces."
Marxuach-Steur's son is 8 years old. He was 4 when he was diagnosed with autism.
He is one of about a dozen autistic boys in Steamboat Springs. Although girls occasionally are diagnosed with autism, 8 out of 10 cases are boys, Marxuach-Steur said.
The Puzzles fund-raiser will raise money to provide additional training for local professionals and to cover the expenses for parents with autistic children.
"You can have someone come into your home to work with your child, but it's expensive," she said.
The fund-raiser begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by a three-course dinner at 7 p.m. There will be information around the room and autism professionals on hand to answer questions. A speaker from the Autism Society of Colorado will speak after dinner about needs for autism training and funding in this state.
Tickets are $70 per person and are available at All That Jazz or by calling 846-9330.