A number of events
are planned on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus to raise awareness
about autism during Autism Awareness Week 2016. The theme is “Shine a Light on
Autism; Light it Up Blue.”
April is national autism awareness month. Bright
blue is a color used to symbolize autism awareness.
Events, all free and
open to the community, include:
For this event, volunteers helping out with Autism Awareness Week will be
spread across campus at tables passing out pins and two-sided sheets with an
infographic and list of events for the week. In addition, each station
will be equipped with puzzle pieces and markers so persons may write on
the pieces how autism has impacted them, someone they know, or just show
their support for autism awareness. The puzzle pieces will then be
collected and displayed in a public location on campus where they can be
viewed for the month of April.
Joann Migyanka, a professor in
the IUP Department of Communication Disorders, Special Education and Disability
Services, will show this film and then lead a discussion about the film. Migyanka has done research and received grant funding for projects associated
with autism and educating first responders on how to deal with individuals with
Panelists will discuss autism and take questions from persons in the
audience. Panelists include Diane Shinberg, associate professor of
sociology who also serves as an officer of the Disability and Society Section
of the American Sociology Association; Laura Knight, professor of sociology,
who studies the assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and
attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders; Sarah Brown, a faculty member in Child Development and Family
Relations; and Todd Van Weiren from the Office of Disability Support
Service. The panel will be facilitated by Maddie Nissel, who served on the
panel in 2015.
The photoshoot event is a continuation of the 2015 events. Students, staff,
and faculty will be able to come in get their faces painted and then can
get their pictures with a variety of signs made by the students to show support
for autism awareness. Event organizers plan to post the photos on the
Autism Awareness page so that people can gain access to them later, and
turn the photos into a collage that is shaped like a puzzle piece.
Before the walk, tables will be set up for
face painting as well as a table with pins that people can get and wear during
the walk. Cathy Dugan, director of the IUP Office of Disability Support
Services, will open the pre-walk program and introduce event organizers and
co-chairs Robert Matchett and Oktober Appleby. After the walk, Sondra Dennison
from the Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining will speak, and Matchett and
Appleby will close the event with their remarks.
Pittsburgh, is a dual disability services and sociology major with a minor in
educational psychology. He is the 2015 recipient of IUP’s Ray Coppler
Disability Awareness Award. This is his second year to organize Autism
Awareness Week events. He is also a member of IUP’s Sign Language Club and Phi
Sigma Pi honor society and is president of Delta Alpha Pi honor society,
established to recognize the academic achievements of students with
Appleby, of Latrobe,
is a dual major
in disability services and child development and family relations, and is a member of Phi Sigma Pi honor society and the IUP Child and Famiiy Studies
More than 1,300 people participated in the 2015
Autism Awareness Week events; Matchett hopes to increase the number of
participants this year. The event won the Phi Sigma Pi: C.H. McClure Single
Service Award in 2015, presented to a collegiate chapter for an outstanding
service project by the national council. The Eta Chapter at IUP hopes to
continue its superior quality of service with this year's Autism Awareness
Event, Matchett said.
To raise awareness,
committee members and volunteers from the sponsoring organizations have put
blue cellophane on windows in several of the campus’s residential buildings to
“light up the campus blue” and have created t-shirts, available for sale. The
t-shirts include a quote from Temple Grandin, “You always have to keep
persevering.” Grandin, an American professor of animal science at Colorado
State University, is a world-renowned autism spokesperson and consultant to the
livestock industry on animal behavior.
During the month of
April, the group is working with the Camp
Lakey Gap, a summer camp for children and adults on the autism spectrum located
in Black Mountain, N.C. to raise funds and collect supplies for the campers
and to create cards for the campers. Funds are being raised through donations
and t-shirt sales. Shirts will be sold at all events.
for the 2016 Autism Awareness Week events include Phi Sigma Pi: National Gender
Inclusive Honor Fraternity; Delta Alpha Pi National Honor Society; IUP Office
of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining; IUP Advising and Testing Center; IUP
Child and Family Studies Association; Council for Exceptional Children; and the
IUP Sign Language Club.
(student hanging cellophane): from left,
Ashley Garonzi, Chelsea Warner, and Jill Bender.
Group photo: From left, front row: Ashley
Taylor-Fahnestock, Jena Keating, Lizzie Gardner, Dillon Hogg, Aubrey Keperling;
from left, second row: Anieadi Antiaobong, Nicole Montesi, Oktober Appleby, Rob
Matchett, Chelsea Warner, Ashley Garonzi; from left, third row: Jill Bender,
Nhaemeka Ekch, Lataya Elder, Adam Grutkowski, and Ryan McClintock.