By: Makenzie Plusnick
April is Autism Acceptance Month and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is helping spread the message by hosting a Diversity Dialogue: Autism 101 on April 10th. According to the Autism Acceptance Month website, it began in 2011 to combat another campaign.
“The first Autism Acceptance Month celebrations were organized by Paula Durbin Westby in 2011 as a response to traditional “Autism Awareness” campaigns which the Autistic community found harmful and insufficient,” the website reads.
ODI chose this topic after recognizing a need for it.
“Some students and I were talking about their personal experiences with Autism and how it is misunderstood and/or misrepresented, so I asked if they would like to help me change that, at least on a local level,” said Emily VanKirk, Student Development Specialist II.
ODI offers Diversity Dialogues on different topics monthly.
“Recent topics have included the ‘Power of Language/History of the N Word’, ‘Womanism vs. Feminism’, ‘LGBTQ+ on Campus’, ‘Supporting our DACAmented students’.” VanKirk said. “We are always open to suggestions for additional topics.”
Participants are shown a presentation and then have both large and small group discussions about the topic. A meal is also provided for those who attend.
Diversity Dialogues: Autism 101 will be held at noon in the Thompson Student Center room 27 on April 10th.