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Pfeiffer University supports Autism Awareness Month with special campus events

autism awareness2Community invited to participate

From April 1-3, Pfeiffer University will celebrate Autism Awareness Month through several activities on its Misenheimer campus (48380 U.S. Hwy 52N) designed to create awareness for early detection and intervention for the diagnosis defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a national health crisis. Autism spectrum disorder affects 1.5 million adults and children in the U.S., 60,000 in North Carolina alone.

Whether or not individuals or families are affected directly by autism, community members are invited to participate in the schedule of events organized by Pfeiffer's division of education. They are:

Mon., April 1        
Autism Eggs in the Library—Blue plastic Easter eggs, honoring the official color of Austism Awareness, will be available all day in G.A. Pfeiffer Library.  Inside each egg will be a fact to share about autism and autism spectrum disorder. Several off the eggs will be designated as “prize” eggs; prizes should be claimed in the office of the division of education on the library's third floor.

Tues., April 2
Pfeiffer Lights It Up Blue—All day, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear blue to show their support for Autism Awareness. At 11 a.m., Pfeiffer welcomes alumna Dawn Harwood Allen ‘81, chief executive officer of GHA Autism Supports for the launch of dozens of blue helium balloons from the campus's statue of founder Emily Prudden, a 19th-century education pioneer. (Freddie the Falcon will be on hand for this event.) In the evening, Pfeiffer's campus will be illuminated in blue light from lampposts and a number of buildings, including the chapel, student center, library and president's house, participating with college campuses across the U.S. that will also be bathed in blue as a symbol for shining a light on the autism crisis.

Wed., April 3
Guest Speaker and Movie Night—6:30 p.m., Administration Building Theater, 3rd floor— Janet Banks, professional services coordinator, GHA Autism Supports, will address the Pfeiffer community prior to a screening of the feature film Temple Grandin, which chronicles the life and accomplishments of a woman diagnosed in 1952 at age 5 with autism, named in 2010 as one of TIME's 100 most influential people. Dr. Grandin is a doctor of animal sciences, professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author and well-known autism activist.

“With 1 in 88 people in the U.S. diagnosed with autism—1 in 70 in North Carolina—educators and parents must be keenly aware of best practices for addressing students' needs in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Deanna Hurley-Chamberlain, assistant professor of education and coordinator of Autism Awareness events. “As the world is our classroom, Pfeiffer encourages pre-service teachers to explore perspectives across a diverse spectrum of student capabilities so they are able to define students with autism first as individuals, rather than by their diagnosis.”

For more information about activities at Pfeiffer University related to Autism Awareness Month, contact Dr. Deanna Hurley-Chamberlain, (704) 463-3130; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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