Posts Tagged ‘autism college students’

LIVE Facebook Q&A for College Students on Light It Up Blue!

February 13, 2012 2 comments

The Autism Speaks U team will be hosting a LIVE Facebook Q&A for college students, on Light It Up Blue and Autism Awareness Month this Thursday, February 16 at 5pm EST/2pm PST. 

RSVP at or join the chat directly at

Our team will discuss how to get started and ways to get your campus to Light It Up Blue. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to share ideas with other students from across the country.

We look forward to chatting with you!

To see how you can get involved with the program, visit

11 Myths About Autism

November 21, 2011 24 comments

You’ve probably heard lots of thoughts and ideas about autism, but we want to make sure you know what is true and what is false. Our Family Services and Science department put together 11 myths about autism to help put an end to any misconceptions. All of these are great for students to share with their classmates. If you’re in college, get involved with Autism Speaks U, a program that supports college students in their awareness, advocacy and fundraising efforts.

1. Myth: People with autism don’t want friends.

Truth: If someone in your class has autism, they probably struggle with social skills, which may make it difficult to interact with peers. They might seem shy or unfriendly, but that’s just because he or she is unable communicate their desire for relationships the same way you do.

2. Myth: People with autism can’t feel or express any emotion—happy or sad.

Truth: Autism doesn’t make an individual unable to feel the emotions you feel, it just makes the person communicate emotions (and perceive your expressions) in different ways.

3. Myth: People with autism can’t understand the emotions of others.

Truth: Autism often affects an individual’s ability to understand unspoken interpersonal communication, so someone with autism might not detect sadness based solely on one’s body language or sarcasm in one’s tone of voice. But, when emotions are communicated more directly, people with autism are much more likely to feel empathy and compassion for others.

4. Myth: People with autism are intellectually disabled.

Truth: Often times, autism brings with it just as many exceptional abilities as limitations. Many people with autism have normal to high IQs and some may excel at math, music or another pursuit.

5. People with autism are just like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man.

Truth: Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning its characteristics vary significantly from person to person. Knowing one person with autism means just that—knowing one person with autism. His or her capabilities and limitations are no indication of the capabilities and limitations of another person with autism.

6. Myth: People who display qualities that may be typical of a person with autism are just odd and will grow out of it.

Truth: Autism stems from biological conditions that affect brain development and, for many individuals, is a lifelong condition.

7. Myth: People with autism will have autism forever.

Truth: Recent research has shown that children with autism can make enough improvement after intensive early intervention to “test out” of the autism diagnosis. This is more evidence for the importance of addressing autism when the first signs appear.

8. Myth: Autism is just a brain disorder.

Truth: Research has shown that many people with autism also have gastro-intestinal disorders, food sensitivities, and many allergies.

9.  Myth: Autism is caused by bad parenting.

Truth: In the 1950s, a theory called the “refrigerator mother hypothesis” arose suggesting that autism was caused by mothers who lacked emotional warmth. This has long been disproved.

10. Myth: The prevalence of autism has been steadily increasing for the last 40 years.

Truth: The rate of autism has increased by 600% in the last 20 years. In 1975, an estimated 1 in 1,500 had autism. In 2009, an estimated 1 in 110 had an autism spectrum disorder.

11. Myth: Therapies for people with autism are covered by insurance.

Truth:  Most insurance companies exclude autism from the coverage plan and only half of the 50 states currently require coverage for treatments of autism spectrum disorders.

If you’re interested in raising awareness in college, visit

LIVE Facebook Q&A for College Students!

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

The Autism Speaks U team will be hosting a LIVE Facebook Q&A for our chapters and student leaders this Wednesday, September 21 at 8pm EST/5pm PST.

To join the chat, click here 

This is the perfect time for Autism Speaks U newbies or veterans to ask our team questions about the program, what awareness and fundraising events to host in Fall and how to start/maintain a chapter.

We look forward to chatting with you!

To see how you can get involved with the program, visit

10 Things I Have Learned About Autism

June 27, 2011 25 comments

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a recent graduate of Seton Hall University. 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.

Quite recently I took the liberty of making a list of some of the things I have learned about autism through reflection. I then narrowed it down to 10 of my quotes that I feel best express  my understanding of the subject. They are as follows:

  1. Autism can’t define me, only I can define autism.
  2. Give advice to others in the autistic community through your own experiences.
  3. If someone calls you “awkward,” just know that it means you’re “unique” and a lot better than “ordinary”.
  4. I’m great at several things and broken in none.
  5. Ignorance is all around us but awareness is around the corner if we want it to be.
  6. Feeling sorry for myself will get me nowhere.
  7. We need to stop labeling and instead integrate, “people with people” in our communities who have different needs.
  8. Inclusion in schools will never mean I’m secluded from an education.
  9. Autism is not a disease, rather a disability that every day I strive to become an A-bility.
  10. Communication never takes a vacation.

As someone diagnosed with Autism at a very early age, I know the, “conversation” doesn’t end here. What are your thoughts on this list? Feel free to comment below!

What Does Autism Mean To You? – By Daniel Grieves

December 20, 2010 5 comments

Autism Speaks U, an initiative of Autism Speaks that works with college students across the country,  recently interviewed students about autism and the results were incredible. It showed that their involvement with Autism Speaks U is critical in spreading awareness on campus and in the community! Watch the video on What is Autism.

From this video, emerged our “What Does Autism Mean To You” series where college students share their perspective on autism. This post is by Daniel Grieves, a Senior at Towson University majoring in Strategic Public Relations under the feed of Mass Communication. Daniel has autism and is involved with the Center for Adults with Autism on campus and serves as a spokesperson for their organization.

I believe that autism is only a barrier. Students on the autism spectrum should not consider this barrier as a wall they cannot break down. They should consider it as something more easily penetrated.

What I mean is that a person with autism can overcome their shortcomings, no matter how large they may be. They are able to use their interests or goals to work beyond their problems and can do very well in certain types of subjects. An autistic student might do better with writing papers, working with computers, or solving math problems than many of his or her peers.

Daniel and fellow Towson students at the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event - photo courtesy of Karyn Bedell

People with autism still need support from people who care about them as well as services that are beneficial for them to achieve these goals. However, this is not easy to do especially with how most mass media forms treat the concept of autism and the fact that many people do not have a good understanding of what autism really is. By increasing awareness of what people on the spectrum are really like and what they are capable of, we can truly join together to take down that “barrier” that emotionally divides us people who have autism from people who don’t.

My advice for autistic students of all ages: Do not let your autism get the best of you. You can live your dreams as long as people are willing to help you get through and you try hard on all of your studies. If you think you will fail because of your autism, chances are you will fail. However, if you believe in succeeding and rising above your autism, you will have a better life.

Just remember my personal slogan: autism is only a disability if you make it a disability.

Happy Holidays!

If you are college student and would like your “What Does Autism Mean To You” story featured on the Autism Speaks blog, please send it to 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 Michigan

November 1, 2010 4 comments

Autism Speaks UThis guest post is by Maressa Criscito, the Co-President and Co-Founder of the Autism Speaks U Chapter at the University of Michigan. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

Alexandra Lewisohn and I started our Autism Speaks U chapter during the summer of 2009.  It was during this time that we began researching student organizations related to autism spectrum disorders at the University of Michigan, and to our surprise, there were none.  Due to personal connections with autism, as well as our desire to raise awareness and funds for this cause, we took it upon ourselves to create a successful and active student organization for autism spectrum disorders. After much research, both online and via word-of-mouth, we realized the dedication that Autism Speaks had to raising awareness and funds for autism research, while advocating for the autism community. Their dedication was definitely paralleled to ours.  After contacting both the national and local Autism Speaks staff, we began our journey to create a student organization at the University of Michigan in fall of 2009.

Our chapter aims to further the mission of Autism Speaks by engaging the campus community to support this important cause. We strive to create a community that will educate, support, and enhance the lives of those affected by autism. Students join our organization to take part in fundraising events, volunteer opportunities, and/or to just become involved in raising autism awareness around campus and the Ann Arbor community.  Previous fundraising activities include bake sales, local bar nights, and a restaurant week that took place in May 2010. Active members also have the option to volunteer with children on the spectrum once a month at the Judson Center, a local community center in the Ann Arbor area.  We also promote numerous awareness events such as, “Wear Blue for Autism Awareness Day.” This year, Autism Speaks U at the University of Michigan has grown immensely, now having over 200 members and the support from many others.

On October 23, 2010, we hosted our first basketball tournament and basketball knockout event, raising almost $800 and attracting sponsors from local bars, restaurants and Grublife.  All of the food, beverages and prizes were donated! Prizes included DEADMAU5 tickets, gift certificates to high-end restaurants (such as Melange and Zingerman’s), other gift certificates to local restaurants, University of Michigan apparel stores, and Autism Speaks U gear.  The basketball tournament involved 4-on-4 half-court basketball games that were played up to 11. It was $10 per person to register for the tournament and each team could have a maximum of 5 players per team. There were a total of 16 teams participating in the basketball tournament. We also had a basketball knockout game where about 20 individuals formed a single file line at the free throw line and shot foul shots. This game continued until 1 winner was left and was $5 per person to play.  In order to get support and involvement from the community, we posted flyers around campus, as well as sent e-mails to other student organizations and Greek Life on campus. It was truly a great event that we hope to expand even more so in the following years!

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 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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Autism Speaks U Spotlight – Saint Mary’s College

September 27, 2010 1 comment

This guest post is by Allison Drake, the president and founder of the Autism Speaks U Chapter at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. She is a senior Communicative Disorders major and plans on becoming a speech pathologist working with individuals on the spectrum. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

My desire to help the student population on campus comes directly from my family. My youngest brother T.J. was diagnosed with autism at the age of six. Growing up he faced many difficulties academically and socially because of it. Since his diagnosis he has come such a long way, and I truly believe that children on the spectrum can improve dramatically with proper support and guidance. However, we as a country have not come close to funding enough research to help support and guide the almost 4 million children born with autism every year. Autism Speaks is an organization that stands for what I believe in; providing education and funds for research to help those affected by autism.


The Autism Speaks U Saint Mary’s Chapter sporting the sunglasses that they sold at one of their fundraisers.


It is for this reason, that I decided to start an Autism Speaks U Chapter at Saint Mary’s during the Fall semester of 2010. With majors like Communicative Disorders, Psychology and Education, Saint Mary’s was lacking an organization that supported a population many of us will be working with in the future; that’s where Autism Speaks U comes in. Our goal as a chapter this year is to raise funds to support the national organization at Autism Speaks.

We are currently in the process of planning a walk on Saint Mary’s campus to occur during Autism Awareness month in April 2011. We are going to work hard to include the local community, by means of reaching out to the local Autism Center in South Bend.Since  Saint Mary’s is right across the street from the University of Notre Dame, so we have reached out to Notre Dame for additional support. They also happen to have classes and research labs dedicated to autism studies. With the support of the local community and the University of Notre Dame, we are expecting our first walk to be quite a success.

We are currently hosting two popular fundraisers on campus. We started selling autism puzzle piece silly bandz for $1 each, and have raised almost $200 in two weeks. We also ordered sunglasses in neon green that promote our Autism Speaks U Chapter for the girls to purchase and wear at the Notre Dame football games and around campus. I have been fortunate to have a great team of officers who have helped me do everything. We wouldn’t be where we are without all of their help. Since school started, we have recruited almost 150 girls to be part of our chapter and have reached out to other clubs, such as the National Student Speech Hearing and Language Association, Saint Mary’s Education Club and Psi Chi which is the International Honor Society in Psychology. We are so excited to experience this much success so early on in the semester. I cannot wait to see the foundation we will leave at Saint Mary’s when I graduate in May.

If you’d like to support Allison’s fundraising efforts at Saint Mary’s College please click here.

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 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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