By Cameile Raschein/The Signal
California State University, Stanislaus sorority Alpha Xi Delta opened up to the campus and community April 2 in efforts to bring awareness to people about autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, better known simply as “autism,” is characterized by a difficulty with interaction – both verbal and nonverbal – which may also include repetitive behaviors.
“[For] World Autism Awareness Day, the chapter wanted to hold an event that raised awareness and taught our local community about autism and how to help families affected by ASD,” Leigh Puhek (senior, Kinesiology) said. “Alpha Xi Delta’s national philanthropic partner is Autism Speaks. Every year, Alpha Xis across the nation host events raising donations and awareness for all those affected by autism.”
Behavior therapists interacted with participants using sensory activities and helpfully described the characteristics of autism. Another guest speaker, Brittany Nowlin, explained signs and symptoms of autism, as well as other resources that are available to families affected by ASD.
“Autism Spectrum Disorders vary in severity, effect and signs for each person diagnosed,” Puhek said. “There is currently no known cause for ASD and the prevalence rates are growing partially due to greater awareness and partially due to a greater number of children being diagnosed early. Understanding and awareness are the two most important aspects for someone to learn.”
Later in the night, guests were given white paper bags and asked to write inspiring messages acknowledging World Autism Awareness Day on them.
The bags, called luminarias, were then lit up with blue glow sticks. Blue light bulbs were also sold to give guests the chance to participate in the Autism Speaks worldwide awareness event Light it up Blue which started April 2.
Other helpful tips, resources and products about autism and autism awareness can be found at www.autismspeaks.org and liub.autismspeaks.org.
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