Autism Walk and Awareness Fair Set for Sept. 17

Published on Thu, September 15, 2011

On Saturday, September 17, the Education and Psychology & Counseling Departments will sponsor a free Autism Walk and Awareness Fair. Registration begins at 9 A.M. behind the McGowan Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, followed by a post-walk fair until 1 P.M. Patricia Arter, associate professor of education, sat down to talk about the upcoming event.

Q: Why is it important to have an Autism Walk and Awareness fair?

A: Individuals with autism and their families do not have the easiest time navigating the system and finding resources within the community. The fair helps connect these services. It also supports Marywood's mission to live responsibly in a diverse and interdependent world by showing how we can pull together to serve this diverse population. Additionally, it helps educate the public about the characteristics, capabilities and strengths of individuals with autism.

Q: Why should a person attend?

A: It's a nice way to support individuals with disabilities as well as get connected to resources. It's also a good way for our students, faculty and community partners to "stand up and serve" as we were challenged to do by Father Brian and Sr. Ann at the opening Liturgy.

Q: Can you discuss why autism awareness is important to you?

A: I am passionate about creating access to opportunities. Our community does offer a lot of resources for individuals with autism, but the organizations don't always work together and sometimes the individuals are unaware of how to access the services. We want to highlight the great things going on in our community as well as connect individuals with the services.

Q: What can people expect to see when they arrive?

A: We will be registering people for the walk in the McGowan parking lot beginning at 9 A.M. Then, Jamie Valis, a faculty member in Health and Physical Education and her students, will lead the warm up and walk around campus at 10 A.M. Participants will return to the parking lot where tables sponsored by community partners and various Marywood clubs and departments will have a variety of activities such as face painting, games and raffles. Additionally, each agency will have information about the services they provide.

Q: What would you like to see happen as a result of this walk and fair?

A: More collaboration between agencies and easier access to resources that is available for individuals with Autism.

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