Autism Conference spreads awareness

By Meghan Hurley
April 12, 2007

Colorado Springs Gazette/MCT

In honor of Social Work Month, the social work department and the social work club sponsored the Perspectives on Autism Conference. The conference, held on March 30, featured keynote speaker Dr. Robert Naseef, followed by a series of workshops that touched on different aspects of autism.

“The conference participants raved about Dr. Naseef and how much they learned from his presentation,” Margo Bare, assistant professor of social work, said.

Naseef provided remarks on autism from the perspective of a parent of an autistic child as well as from the perspective professional psychologist.

“He did a great job comparing his ‘normal’ life to that of his son with autism,” Carrie Kirsch, a senior social work major, said. “The most interesting thing that he said was that acceptance does not mean giving up. I think many people think that if you accept something that can be seen negative in your life, that means giving up on what you believe in.”

The speech was followed by a discussion period where conference attendees could ask Naseef questions.

“I had the opportunity to discuss topics about Autism with several care providers, advocates and parents, in an informal setting. Many useful ideas were exchanged, and I was very pleased,” Michael Krencicki, a sophomore disability advocacy and social work major, said.

Following the discussion session, participants had a choice of attending two of three workshops. The workshops focused on early intervention and supportive strategies for children with autism and their families as well as successful strategies for daily living.

“I learned many new things that I can utilize in my profession, such as where to refer individuals with a son or a daughter with autism, and how to help the parents cope with their child’s disorder,” Kirsch said.

The social work department tries to sponsor at least two conferences each year based on what students in the department are interested in.

“It was a treat that so many came out to learn more about Autism and it’s spectral disorders,” Krencicki said. “As an advocate for people with disabilities, I was glad that Cabrini offered such an amazing program on a topic of such importance to the global community.”

Meghan Hurley

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