Being on the autism spectrum has so many connotations and varying degrees of meaning that many members of the public struggle to understand it all. With that in mind, Autism Tough Foundation with assistance from the Bridge Builders Foundation and in collaboration with Clarion University is hosting author Jude Morrow to give people an opportunity to become more aware of the needs of their neighbors.
The free presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday, November 15, at the university's Hart Chapel. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Morrow, a two-time Irish author and autism awareness speaker, will talk about the needs and benefits of understanding autism, a condition that effects roughly one in 54 children according to the Center for Disease Control.
For decades the terms autism or Asperger's were labels placed on individuals who were often separated into a "special needs" category.
In more recent years, these separations were looked upon as improper segregation and less desirable for the individual and even the entire school system. The idea of "mainstreaming" individuals into the general population of the public school systems became more mandated.
Researching for this article brought up countless articles and papers about how mainstreaming persons with disabilities into classrooms had, not only positive effects for the individual students with the disability, but also the overall school community. It is not entirely without difficulties however, mostly due to training of teachers and understanding of the different abilities and needs of the children.
Just general awareness and acceptance of the "quirks" and abilities of those on the spectrum are needed to understand how we can all benefit from each other.
According to researchautism.org which gathered analysis from 45 different studies, "meaningful peer interactions among autistic and neurotypical children results in significant and lasting intellectual and social benefits for kids with autism, while simultaneously benefiting typical kids as well.
Moreover, these interactions were found to be more effective in natural play settings versus clinical settings." The website also concluded from this research that "teachers reported the benefit of students helping each other, valued the promotion of tolerance and understanding and felt it could reduce bullying."
Morrow's website points out how society has many aspects that look upon autism negatively instead of seeing the positives and that has led to biases. He guides parents and teachers to "ditch negative attitudes toward rustic people."
The website goes further to say that "parents walk away from this talk with a fool-proof mindset change so that their autistic children can grow and flourish being confident in who they are."
Author and autism awareness speaker Jude Morrow will speak at 6:30 p.m. Monday, November 15 at the Hart Chapel in Clarion University.
From his website: "Jude Morrow is an autistic best-selling author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and keynote speaker from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Jude travels the world to showcase through his talks that autistic children can grow up to live happy and successful lives.
Jude's books are published by Beyond Words, publisher of The Secret. Jude is the founder of Neurodiversity Training International, the world's premier autistic-led training and consultancy firm to global non-profits and Fortune 500 companies.
Editor's Note: Eight & 322 plans to sit down with Morrow this week to learn more about him and what we can do as a community to be more aware and help our neighbors with autism.