In honor of April as Autism Awareness Month, the Bay College Diversity Committee and the Special Populations/Student Success Office is proud to present an Autism Awareness Event. This event will be held at Bay College in Escanaba in the Besse Theater. Three speakers will present, Anthony Ianni, Stephen Shore, and Kimberly Bell-Mocini.
People with a pervasive development disorder (PDD’s, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder) often have problems with social, emotional and communication skills. Autism occurs 1 in every 68 births in the United States and almost 1 in 54 boys, and because of this Bay College feels it is important to raise the awareness of autism and its effects on the individuals and the community.
Anthony Ianni is a former MSU basketball player who is an anti-bullying advocate and activist for autism awareness. He was formerly with the Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAOM), and is now with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). Ianni became the first known Division I college basketball player to have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Students with autism are frequently the most targeted by bullies with 65-90% of individuals with autism estimated to have been victims at some point. “Bullying is something we must put an end to not only in Michigan but across the country,” said Ianni. “Everyone is affected by bullying in some way and students with autism are at incredibly high risk to be victimized. Our hope is that through my story and spreading our message we can not only inspire kids to take a stand against bullying but also to make bullies rethink their actions.”
Anthony has pledged his life and career to help those who face similar challenges. He has been invited to tell his story and share his message across the country and has inspired countless individuals to “LYD”- Live Your Dreams. His presentation is scheduled from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (EDT)
Stephen Shore was diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment so he was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.
Dr. Shore will discuss Life on and Slightly to the Right of the Autism Spectrum: In Inside View Towards Success
from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. (EDT). Please join Stephen in his autobiographical journey from the nonverbal days as he relates his life to the many challenges facing people on the autism spectrum. Some of the areas discussed include classroom accommodation, teaching of musical instruments, as well as issues faced by adults such as relationships, self-advocacy, higher education, and employment. The session ends with a short audience activity demonstrating what it feels like have autism and to struggle through some of the challenges surrounding communication and socialization.
Kimberly Bell Mocini is the author of My Child Wasn't Born Perfect
which is a story of the journey of her son JD from early childhood to young adulthood, as told through his mother's eyes and voice. She shares the struggles of educating a child with language and social challenges in the 1990s when there was limited knowledge of Hyperlexia (the ability to read before his peers) or Autism Spectrum Disorders. All she knew was that JD learned differently, and that she had to be his advocate.
The presentation through the telling of JD's story will help parents, students, educators, and the community at-large, navigate the challenges sufferers of autism and related learning disabilities face throughout the educational years. The story Kimberly shares is one that everyone will appreciate. She shares her story from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
The culmination of the event will be a panel discussion from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (EDT) with the above presenters plus Lacy Lauzon of the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District. The audience will be given a chance to ask questions during this time.
The event is free and the public is invited to attend. The event will be in the Besse Center Theater on Thursday, April 23rd at Bay College beginning at 2 pm and runs throughout the day.