Algoma U Celebrates World Autism Day

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Today, students, staff, and faculty gathered around the front entrance of Algoma University to “Raise the Flag for Autism” as part of Autism Ontario’s initiative to support World Autism Day.

auc-1Autism Ontario’s Raise the Flag campaign, through the simple act of raising a flag, unites families, schools, communities, government officials, and professionals in recognizing World Autism Awareness Day, and brings to light the struggles and triumphs of people on the autism spectrum. By raising a flag, schools and communities are demonstrating their commitment to building a supportive, inclusive environment.

Casey Burgess, a sessional instructor at Algoma University, and PhD student in cognition and learning with a special focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at Lakehead University, helped organize the event. Burgess recently developed the popular Special Topics in Psychology course which focuses on ASD at Algoma U.

Burgess notes that more students with ASD are attending post-secondary institutions, but there is still not enough being done to support these students. “Current funding efforts are focused on children and youth, but we are now seeing a growing need for awareness, acceptance, funding, and support at the post-secondary and vocational levels,” said Burgess. “We have some brilliant young adults who, given the appropriate support, excel in academic and vocational environments. Not only are we seeing more post-secondary students with ASD, but we are seeing more post-secondary students interested in pursuing careers in researching ASD or getting involved in clinical work to support individuals with ASD.”

Algoma University is dedicated to ensuring all students achieve success, both inside and outside of the classroom. The Student Services team, including The Learning Centre and Disability Services Office, provide students with one-on-one accommodations tailored to students’ individual learning style and based on provided documentation. Students who are on the spectrum can receive out-of-class testing in a quieter space to avoid the effects of over-stimulation, one-on-one meetings and tutoring. They also have access to quieter facilities, including The Learning Centre. For more information on the services provided, please visit www.algomau.ca/learning.

For more information on World Autism Day or the Raise the Flag campaign, visit www.raisetheflagforautism.com.

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