UCC spreads awareness to those with ASD

April is World Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 was the 11th annual World Autism Awareness Day. Communities all around the world, including at UCC, showed their support and recognition of those living with autism by wearing the color light blue.

Autism Awareness month helps educate the community about accepting and supporting those living with autism, especially in schools and public places.

Sophia Garcia, UCC’s accommodations specialist for accessibility services, states that autism awareness month is important: “There are a lot of students on campus that fit into that autism spectrum, and we want them to feel included in what’s going on at campus and for them to feel that it’s ok to be here.”

On April 2, students and staff also went around campus handing out multi-colored ribbons and pins to celebrate national World Autism Awareness day.

“The ribbons for autism are puzzle pieces that represent how the autistic population fits differently in our society, but they still are a part of it. We did the autism awareness display as well in the Student Center to showcase people in the past, people in the present, film actors and famous athletes who have been on the spectrum and are open about it and still doing their thing,” Garcia said.

This event’s purpose was to encourage people on the ASD spectrum, helping them to feel included and supported at UCC, and Garcia believes the activities did just that. “We had a few people that are on the spectrum come in and tell us that it was really cool. That was the best part for me because there are a lot of sad facts about autism and people with disabilities, but I wanted to try and steer away from that. It’s a spectrum with a lot of different people living with it differently– and they’re out here succeeding,” Garcia said.

ASUCC, UCC’s Accessibility Service, and the Douglas County Disability Services Advisory Council are also putting on an additional, cost-free event to support people with intellectual disabilities during Autism Awareness month. The event showcases a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib. The film, “Intelligent Lives,” will question the role of IQ testing and how the practices surrounding IQ testing affect people with intellectual disabilities.

This event is April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center. Before attending, register online or contact the Accessibility Services office in the Student Center at UCC. For more information, contact Sophia Garcia in the Accessibility Services office at 541-440-7900 or Danielle Haskett, accessibility coordinator, at 541-440-7655.