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Thursday, October 16, 2014

October in Autism: Art, John Elder Robison, Bullying, and More

Aside from April, October has got to be the busiest month for autism happenings around the Triangle! The Autism Society of NC Triangle Run/Walk for Autism was last weekend, but it is not too late to donate.

The Month of "Awareness Months"

October is also the "Month" for a number of issues that are important to the autism community. It is Disability History & Awareness Month in North Carolina. Did you know that every school in the state is required to provide instruction about disabilities this month? It can look different at every school; at our son's elementary, they are using the Easter Seals Friends Who Care curriculum, featuring books about disabilities and different abilities in the school library and for classroom readings, exploring what it feels like to be visually impaired, inviting Bridge II Sports to gym classes, and making music with sign language.

If your school has not planned anything for Disability Awareness Month yet, there are numerous free resources online. Creating a culture where it is okay for children to be unique or different is an essential piece of successful inclusion, and the value of disability awareness education cannot be overstated in that context.

That brings us to the next "Month" - Bullying Prevention Month. Children with autism are both more likely to be bullied and to be labeled as bullies. Head over to the Autism Society of NC website for their free Bullying Toolkit to find out how to prevent and resolve bullying-related issues. If your student with ASD is the one being accused of engaging in bullying behaviors, read about the Manifestation Determination Review, and why it is a very big deal.

Speaking of school issues, did you know that October is also ADHD Awareness Month? Many kids on the spectrum have ADHD as a co-morbid condition or have ADHD-like symptoms at times, so this one is important for our community too. The Durham District School Board has 2 events about ADHD planned for October 20th - find the details here.

John Elder Robison at Duke

On October 20th, John Elder Robison will be speaking at Duke about Life on the Autism Spectrum. Robison is the author of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger'sand Raising Cubby, both of which are excellent books. He describes himself as a "free range Aspergian" and a passionate neurodiversity advocate. The talk at Duke is free, but registration is required

Art + Advocacy Event

Photo credit: Barbara Tyroler

As we mentioned previously, ASNCOC is participating in an event this month at the FRANK Gallery in Chapel Hill about the role of public art and avocacy in fostering engaged, inclusive communities. There will be a panel discussion, live music, a reception, and the photographs of artist Barbara Tyroler. The event will be on Thursday, October 23rd from 6:30-9pm. Please note that this is an adults-only event, due to the art gallery location.

Central Carolina First In Families Event


Join Central Carolina First In Families for an evening of dinner, information, and conversation. CCFIF is passionate about the work they do to help people living with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities and/or Traumatic Brain Injury and their families in Orange, Person and Chatham counties to Believe in their dreams, Achieve their goals and Give Back to others. Learn about their past and current endeavors and plans for the future. Most importantly, they will provide community members with the opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary effort.

When: Wednesday, October 29th from 6:15-7:45pm
Where: Chapel Hill Public Library, Meeting room A

November also promises to be a busy month. Mark your calendars now for the event I am most excited about - a fundraiser/evening of relaxation at Talbots at the Southpoint Mall in Durham on November 13th...details to come soon!

(This post contains associate links.)

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