Asnuntuck Community College will be joining the campaign to inform and educate others about Autism when it Lights it Up Blue on Monday, April 2 as part of World Autism Awareness Day.
ACC student Raygan Zononi is hoping that by sharing her seven year old son’s story, she will help Autism Speaks with their mission to fund research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism.
Autism Speaks describes Autism as a group of complex disorders of brain development. They further explain that these disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
The Asnuntuck student, who hopes to transfer to Smith College, to major in Journalism, will be at an information table at the college on April 2 with her son. Fact cards and pamphlets will be distributed. The student says they will have raffles with prizes from Rave Movie Theater, Subway, Mobil Gas and Liberty Pizza. Blue silicone bracelets will be for sale, with the proceeds from the bracelets and raffle tickets going to support Autism Speaks.
Zononi has received planning support from ACC Counselor Maki McHenry, who serves as the college’s Disability Services Coordinator. “Mac has been a wonderful help and resource and I couldn't do it without her," says Zononi.
Students, faculty, staff and the public are all invited to participate in the day. “At the table on April 2nd, I intend to have blue (the color for autism) puzzle pieces for students to place on a white roll of paper. I will be asking the students to do this if they have been affected by, or know someone with autism,” she explains. “My hope is to show how prevalent autism is, especially in a small community such as ACC.”
She describes why this activity is significant. “The puzzle piece is the symbol of autism, and Autism Speaks. The disorder is a complete mystery and the way the autism community looks at this is as if it were a puzzle we need to figure out and eventually complete.”
She said Elliott will be participating with this part of the day. “My son will be the one to help with the puzzle pieces, handing them out and being the one to stick them to the white paper. He knows and understands his diagnosis and looks forward to participating in raising awareness. It is also important, not only for children to learn the value of volunteering, but to also help put a face to the disorder. I am constantly encouraging positive social behaviors in Elliott and feel this will be a wonderful opportunity for him and his growth.”
For more information about the event, contact Zononi at email@example.com.