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“Autism in Academia” Live Video Chat! « Autism Speaks Official Blog

Sep 13

Sept 13, 2011, I received an announcement from Autism Speaks urging me to watch the “Autism in Academia” Live Video Chat!  HERE

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.

Obviously intended for Asperger’s and high functioning individuals on the spectrum, the chat will inform about “autism-friendly colleges.” The presentation is included with a logo for “Diversity Day,” categorizing autism as just another way of experiencing the world.

While I hope everything will be done to help young people with ASD who want to go on to higher education, the message here denies that autism is any kind of a disability. It’s something to be celebrated from the looks of the graphics. And it’s more evidence that autism is undeniably impacting our society everywhere. We’re perfectly willing to increase awareness, to train people who have to deal with individuals with autism, and to accommodate those affected. Autism is the new normal. Autism happens. We don’t know why it happens and we don’t really care.

The problem is that for every ASD person who could possibly go to college, there are a couple dozen who are so disabled by autism that they’ll never be able to live independently. These are the ones who don’t talk and have serious health issues.  They have parents who can’t celebrate diversity because they’re too busy changing the diapers of a teenager with autism.  They’re the people whose behavior puts others at risk. 

So while we’re talking about “Autism in Academia” we should consider that we’ll also  be seeing autism in the prison system, among the homeless, and in thousands of group home across America. That’s the diversity we don’t hear a lot about.

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