Campus to mark Autism Awareness Month
For the fourth straight year, students of psychology Professor Rachel Mann Rosan have arranged a month of public events to observe Autism Awareness Month.
Since the early 1970s, the Autism Society has celebrated National Autism Awareness Month as a special opportunity to raise awareness about autism and issues within the autism community.
At Skidmore, students in Mann Rosan’s psychology course PS 212b, “Developmental Disabilities and Autism” have annually arranged a slate of activities offering community-specific information. Mann Rosan provides a structure for the students to use, including learning outcomes. The students are then assigned various activities – speaker, panel discussion, informational posters – geared toward the learning objectives.
The learning objectives include understanding autism and the philosophies that influence diagnosis and treatment, researching the epidemiology of autism, examining the different causes and treatments, and looking at the impact of autism on the community. Mann Rosan encourages the students to research the topics and make decisions on what activity or speaker best addresses the topic.
The class has established the following schedule. All events are free and open to the public.
• Monday, April 8, 6 p.m. in Tisch Learning Center, room 302 - “The Role of a Clinical Team to Support Parents and Individuals with Autism,” featuring Cassandra Estey, Wendy Ashe, and Diana Graviano. Members of the Clinical Consultation Team from Saratoga Bridges, Inc., will provide an overview of their roles as a behavior specialist, certified occupational therapy assistant, and speech-language pathologist. Topics included will be positive behavior support, sensitivity training, feeding, expressive language, social skills, and the counselor-clinical role.
• Tuesday, April 9, 6:30 p.m., Bolton Hall, room 282 - “Philosophical Perspectives of Autism Spectrum Disorders,” by Susan M. Parillo. The discussion will center on philosophical issues as they pertain to Autism Spectrum Disorders, including understanding the current debate over the primary deficit thought to be a major contributing factor to autistic impairments, implications of the 2013 change to the diagnostic criteria and notions of whether Autism is something to be “cured” or “embraced.”
• Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m., Tisch Learning Center, room 201 - “Autism: Where is the Terminology Going?” by Anthony Malone, M.D. In the midst of a likely expansion of the problem of Autism, there is a major change in how it is thought of diagnostically. The discussion will focus on how the two issues meet and how it affects children on the spectrum.
• Monday, April 15, 6:30 p.m., Tisch Learning Center, room 302 - “The Epidemiology of ASD’s: A Brief Review of Recent Research,” by Paul A.H. Partridge, Ph.D. In recent years, there has been much discussion about the increasing prevalence and factors associated with increased rates of diagnosis.
• Tuesday, April 16, 6 p.m., Bolton Hall, room 282 - “Modeling Behaviors Relevant to Autism in Inbred Strains of Mice,” by Dr. Valerie Bolivar. Mice can play an invaluable role in modeling the biology underlying autism and in developing more effective therapeutic agents. Dr. Bolivar’s lab has established the BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J inbred strain as a useful model for autism-relevant behaviors and is currently examining brain development in these mice, looking for biomarkers relevant to autism.
• Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m., Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall - A screening of the movie Temple Grandin. This award-winning film paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. Starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O'Hara, and David Strathairn.
• Thursday, April 18, 6 & 7 p.m., Tisch Learning Center, room 201
6 p.m. - Panel on “Parenting Autistic Children”
7 p.m. - Panel on “What It’s Like to Have Autism”
Parents: Julie Marks, Stephanie Veitch, Steve Oill, Skip Parry & Ronda Fein; Individuals on the Spectrum: Eric Olefson, Melanie Hecker, & Rebecca Shook.
• Sunday, April 21, noon in Intramural/Dance Gymnasium- Second Annual Autism Awareness Informational Fair & Carnival, hosted by Saratoga Bridges, the Parent Network of the Capital Region, and the Skidmore Psychology Department and presented by Wilcenski & Pleat, PLLC. Skidmore is a partner on this event, which is organized and sponsored by community groups. Skidmore students assist with running the carnival for children attending the event. Admission is free and open to the public.