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Watch the “Autism in Academia” Live Video Chat!

September 13, 2011 2 comments

More and more young adults on the autism spectrum are looking forward to higher education. Login to CollegeWeekLive tomorrow at 4pm EST to watch “Autism in Academia” featuring Lisa Jo Rudy. Learn how to prepare for the college experience, where to find autism-friendly colleges, and how to access special needs services at the school of your choice.

Lisa Jo Rudy is a professional writer and works with museums, community organizations and families to build access, inclusion and opportunities for people affected by autism. Lisa is also the mother of a fifteen-year-old son with autism and will be speaking at CollegeWeekLive’s Diversity Day.

“Autism in Academia” is part of a larger program called Diversity Day. Admissions reps in charge of diversity and multicultural recruitment from 40 universities across the country will chat live with students of all race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, or disability to address the unique opportunities available on their campuses.

Sign-up now. It’s free and easy. CollegeWeekLive will also giving away a $1,000 scholarship!

To get involved with Autism Speaks college program, visit www.autismspeaks.org/U. Autism Speaks U designed for college students who want to host events, start chapters, volunteer and/or become campus ambassadors! 

College Students To Host Vintage Clothes Fundraiser for Autism Speaks

July 29, 2011 4 comments

This blog post was written by Alexandra Lewisohn and Maressa Criscito, the co-founders of the Autism Speaks U Chapter at the University of Michigan. Their Autism Speaks U chapter is dedicated to raising awareness and funds on campus and in the community. To get involved in our college program, visit www.autismspeaks.org/U.

On August 1, 2011 from 5-10 PM at 45 East 34th Street, 3rd floor in New York City, The Vintage Twin will be holding a trunk show event, where 10% of all proceeds will be donated to Autism Speaks. The Autism Speaks U Chapter at the University of Michigan is helping to organize this event and invite you to come out, shop and support Autism Speaks!

With a store run by stylists, The Vintage Twin treats shopping as a service and style as yours, allowing people of all colors, ages, and sizes to enjoy one-of-a-kind hand-picked, remodeled, and original designs. In line with its modernized products, The Vintage Twin is a footprint-free and socially responsible company.

Come join The Vintage Twin’s show, buy some fabulous one of a kind items, and help raise funds for Autism Speaks!

For more information about Autism Speaks U at the University of Michigan, visit our Facebook page to keep updated about future fundraising, volunteering, and advocacy events!

The Mean Things People Say

April 25, 2011 60 comments

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a rising senior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management. He started the club Student Disability Awareness on campus to help spread awareness and raise funds for those affected by autism. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

In the past, I’ve blogged about my own experiences and then tips to overall help individuals on the spectrum. For this post, however, I am looking for your thoughts and tips on a subject that I’m not sure there is a clear cut answer to.

Here’s the scenario: quite recently, I was with a group of friends hanging out when a mutual friend who was under the influence of alcohol started to become belligerent. He was clearly upset about something and decided to storm off. After several of our friends were trying to calm him down and make him come back to the group he called me out for being autistic in a negative connotation; like being autistic is a bad thing. He said, “Shut up Kerry, You’re autistic!” For some reason this remark just bounced off me, but after that experience I haven’t forgiven this individual or shared the story of what happened with anyone else.

It’s difficult sometimes to understand why people can be so mean. A few weeks before that situation, I was on my way to an event with a peer when I called, “shotgun” so I could sit in the front side passenger seat. My peer replied, “Sure, Kerry has that DSS hook-up right there.” In context DSS means Disability Support Services at the college I attend and this was in reference to getting accommodations for being registered as a DSS student. So I guess the question I have for those reading is…

“When did you first feel comfortable addressing comments either positive or negative people make about you or a loved one on the spectrum?”

I know this may seem like a very broad question but in my experience as an individual on the spectrum I’ve always had a tough time communicating the issue to others, especially when I was younger. Now at the age of 23 I have spoken at several events about the issue and can go up to anyone and speak my piece in a non-threatening way to make those aware of what’s right from wrong. The first time I can remember ever speaking up for myself was when I was 13. One of my classmates and I were having a conversation about disabilities and I mentioned that I was autistic. Almost instantly he said, “No you’re not, you can talk!”  I came back and said, “It’s different for different individuals” and then went for the rest of the class period almost discussing things such as high functioning/low functioning autism, the signs, the causes, etc.

At the end of the day, I know that I’ll fight in most scenarios to make individuals aware not only for myself but so other individuals don’t have to deal with similar cases. As a community here at Autism Speaks, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please leave your comments below. Thank you.

My Name is Kerry and I have PDD-NOS

March 7, 2011 36 comments

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a rising senior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management. He started the club Student Disability Awareness on campus to help spread awareness and raise funds for those affected by autism. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

My name is Kerry and I have Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified.

This means I have autism.

This does not mean I am autism.

This means I see the world sometimes in a different light.

This does not mean I’m in the dark.

This means from time to time I may have a difficulty expressing my emotions.

This does not mean I don’t feel.

This means when I communicate, I do it with a style that is my own.

This does not mean I don’t have a voice.

This means I may have sensitivity when it comes to a certain feel or touch.

This means sounds can sometimes make me feel uneasy.

This does not mean I’m deaf or hard of hearing.

This means I can often focus on certain interests for a long period of time.

This does not mean those are my only interests.

This means that I’m the only person in my family to have this.

This does not mean I’m alone.

This means I may have 500 other symptoms/capabilities that are different than yours.

This does not mean I’m any less of a person than you are.

My name is Kerry, and regardless of what PDD-NOS means or doesn’t mean, autism can’t define me, I define autism. I can only hope those individuals, regardless of being autistic or not can define their lives and their journeys in the way they see it.

*I wrote this about 6 months ago with my eyes closed and with an open heart. I believe we all need something; a symbol in some cases, to remind us of who we are and what we are striving to be. This is one article that has helped me immensely.  I plan on sharing this article with my school for World Autism Awareness Day along with an Autism Society of America Conference this Summer. You can also find this article here. Thank you.*

Cowboys Connect with Autism

February 3, 2011 3 comments

University of Wyoming- COWBOYS CONNECT WITH AUTISMThis guest post is by Karen Schroyer, the wife of the head coach from the University of Wyoming’s Basketball team. Karen and her husband have a son named Hayden who is affected by autism.

Hello Wyoming fans! Please join us this Saturday, February 5th @ 6pm for the CSU game at the Arena auditorium. We are proud to announce the second annual COWBOYS CONNECT WITH AUTISM (WHITE OUT)!! As many of you know this is an event that is very near and dear to our family. Through all the research and intervention we have encountered over the years with our son, this is something very important and special to us. We want to provide an opportunity where awareness is made and support can be given by everyone!

We have partnered again, with Autism Speaks. One of the largest advocate organizations in the country. They continue to provide support and resources to so many families in need. With autism still on the rise, now effecting 1 out of every 110 children, and 1 in 70  boys. We personally ask you to show your support for this cause. You can pick up this year’s COWBOYS CONNECT WITH AUTISM t-shirt at the Brown and Gold Outlet in Laramie or Cheyenne, or at the Arena-Auditorium on the evening of the game. Or, pick one up before the CSU game for $15 and $10 will go directly to Autism Speaks. We thank you in advance for your support and for making this a successful day for so many.

University of Wyoming Basketball Team

University of Wyoming's Basketball Team

Combo packages including a game ticket and special t-shirt are on sale for $25 through the Athletic Ticket Office by going to wyomingathletics.com or calling 1-877-WYO-FAN1.

For more information, contact the University of Wyoming Athletics Marketing Department at 307-766-5236.

May GOD bless you and your family. And, we look forward to seeing you there!!

Blessings,

Karen Schroyer

College students, faculty and alumni can get involved with our college initiative, Autism Speaks U, by visiting www.AutismSpeaks.org/U. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

Autism Speaks U Spotlight: Miami University in Ohio

January 10, 2011 4 comments

This guest post is by Katie Weeks, a senior at the University of Miami in Ohio studying Speech Pathology and Child Studies/Disability Studies. She started an Autism Speaks U chapter and has done a fantastic job spreading awareness and raising funds on campus and in the Cincinnati area. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

My first exposure to autism was in high school.  Before I met Aneta, I knew virtually nothing about the complex disorder.  I was asked to help Aneta, my U.S. History classmate, a student with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Throughout the year, I battled frustration and confusion in our daily one-on-one sessions.  Eventually I practiced patience and gained empathy. Little did I know that this experience would trigger my exploration of and ultimate decision to pursue a career in speech pathology in order to work with those affected by autism.

My involvement with Autism Speaks began fairly recently.  Last summer I interned at the Autism Speaks’ Chicagoland Chapter office.  I had the unique opportunity to participate in a project which provided valuable free resources to families with newly diagnosed children.  During spring semester of 2010 before my internship, I researched student organizations on campus and found nothing related to autism.  This spurred my interest to see what it would take to start an Autism Speaks U chapter.  I initially met with a group of driven students I knew from various places around campus and formed our executive board.  From there we gained official student organization status and were ready to start planning events for the upcoming school year!

The response we got from the student body at our first meeting was amazing! There were over 200 students packed into a room that held 50, all eager to learn what our new organization was about.  Needless to say, we moved to a larger auditorium for our bi-monthly meetings.  At our chapter meetings we either have a speaker discuss their personal experiences with autism or show a video.  Our goals as an organization are to raise funds for Autism Speaks, volunteer within the local autism community and raise awareness among students and faculty on Miami’s camps.

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Our first semester on campus was extremely successful!  We held several different fundraising events including a bake sale, a holiday pottery-painting event, silly band fundraisers, and a happy hour.  So far we have raised almost $1,800 for Autism Speaks.  We’ve also reached out to the local community by hosting a “family fun day” at Butterfield Farms, where families affected by autism participated in a corn maze and hay ride!  Next semester we are hoping to plan a “Kids Night Out” babysitting event at a local elementary school to give parents a break.  We are also looking forward to volunteering at the Cincinnati Center for Autism and Safe Haven Farms, a local community for adults on the spectrum.

Our big event next semester will be our 5k run/walk which will be held on campus on April 17th.  We are going to reach out to the Greek community and other campus organizations so that participants can sign up as a team.  From there participants will be able to go to our Autism Speaks U event page and individually fundraise from their families and friends. We will be advertising all semester and hope to see a large turnout for our culminating event of the school year! For more information, feel free to email me at weeksmk@muohio.edu.

If you are involved with Autism Speaks U on your campus and would like your story to be featured on the Autism Speaks blog, please send it to AutismSpeaksU@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

Autism Speaks U Spotlight: University of Georgia

December 7, 2010 1 comment

This guest post is by Asia Bartlett, a junior at the University of Georgia studying Special Education. She is very passionate about supporting the autism community and is an Autism Speaks U student leader. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

Hey fellow autism advocates! While I personally do not have family members on the autism spectrum, those affected by autism have captured my heart in ways that I cannot describe. I had my first experience with a child with autism as a junior in high school and I watched as he began to slowly develop. When he said his first word to me after months of silence when I had been with him, I instantly knew where my passion lay. I decided in that moment that I was dedicating my time and energy from there on out to children and families affected by autism.

I am in my second year as the Executive Director of AutismUGA, an autism awareness organization on campus started just three short years ago in Athens. In our three years on campus, we have raised nearly $20,000 benefiting Northeast Georgia families affected by autism. A portion of our fundraising is annually donated to Autism Speaks in Atlanta and our organization is considering dual enrollment with Autism Speaks U.

Over the years, our club holds an annual “Presidential Spelling Bee” where the Presidents of on-campus organizations compete for their organization to raise money for families in Northeast Georgia affected by autism. We also organize our own annual Walk for Autism which includes a resource fair for parents and a kid’s zone complete with stations ranging from crafts to music therapy to a bounce house! Once a month we host Get REAL Saturdays at a local elementary school and parents meet for a support group while we play games and activities with the children.

Close to 200 students and community members attended AutismUGA's dart tournament, helping to raise almost $1,500!

This November our organization held our first annual dart tournament in downtown Athens. The event was a huge success and benefited Autism Speaks! With approximately 200 attendees and over forty pairs entering the tournament, we raised close to $1,500 in our first attempt at this type of event! The school paper ran an article about our organization and flyers were placed all around campus. Students and community members were able to pre-register on the Autism Speaks U website up until the day of the event which made collecting entry fees a breeze for us. We are so excited about the buzz our dart tournament created on campus and we have had multiple people tell us they can’t wait to participate in the event again next year. We had prizes such as footballs autographed by the Dawgs, local gift certificates and even a bar tab for the winners (it’s a college town out here, so people were pretty excited!).

In 2011, we have big things planned including a “Parent’s Night Out” where members of our organization will be babysitting so that parents can take a night off. We’ll continue our traditions of the Spelling Bee, our Walk and REAL Saturdays while adding some great awareness events on campus like an awareness week we have planned around World Autism Awareness Day.

We are headed into the Spring semester with a newly elected Executive Board and a lot of passion for the upcoming year! You can learn more about AutismUGA and our awareness efforts on our facebook page and our blog, or by contacting autismuga@gmail.com.

If you are involved with Autism Speaks U on your campus and would like your story to be featured on the Autism Speaks blog, please send it to AutismSpeaksU@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

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