Autism seminar to take place on campus

By Jennifer Davis
March 29, 2007

Orlando Sentinel/MCT

Friday, March 30 the Cabrini social work department and social work club will sponsor a seminar on autism. Perspectives on autism will be held in the Mansion dining room from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will welcome keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Naseef.

Based upon 20 years of professional experience and 27 years as a parent of an adult child with autism, psychologist, author and parent, Naseef will provide keynote remarks.

Lessons will be drawn from perspectives of parents, siblings, grandparents, people living with autism and professionals. “You never know who it will affect. Autism is much more prevalent now-a-days. Knowledge is important,” assistant professor of social work Margo Bare said.

According to autism Society of America, autism is a developmental disability that is a neurological disorder which impacts development in the area of social interaction and communication skills.

“Autism is much more prevalent and is found one in every 150 births,” Bare said. This means that autism is found in roughly 1.5 million Americans today. Autism has the power to affect any child and has no cultural, racial, family or social boundaries.

Perspectives on autism will also feature three workshops provided by Wendy L. Schmid, Gail H Stein and Katherine Fox. Schmid is responsible for program development with autism programs, which meets the training needs of families and staff. She has been responsible for provisions with early intervention services for families and children with autism.

Stein is the director of the family resource center for families and children with autism. She organizes support services including family recreation days, speaker series, inclusive playgroups and siblings’ events.

Fox is currently the autism specialist for Arc of Chester County. She provides support and suggests successful daily living and learning strategies to families and individuals with autism throughout their lives.

The purpose of this forum is to inform and provide a better understanding about autism. “It is important for people to be educated so they are not judgmental towards these kids. Children with autism will grow up better accepted and more adjusted into society,” sophomore special education major Kim Johnson said.

According to Bare, there are many occupations in which people have direct encounters with children and adults with minor and major disabilities such as autism. In relation to Cabrini, education and communication majors and social workers deal with cases of autism.

“As a social worker, I think it is vitally important to be informed about autism. It is prevalent within our society and is often misdiagnosed,” Cabrini alumna and social worker, Alicia Dougherty said.

The seminar is free for current Cabrini students, supervisors and board members. Cabrini alumni pay $10 and additional guests $40. All proceeds from the conference will benefit the social work scholarship fund.

“There are some great speakers and this is a great opportunity for people to understand the profound affect autism can have on the individual, their families and the community,” Bare said.

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Jennifer Davis

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