NETWORK FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

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Autism Awareness in the age of COVID

Among the many things that are missing or getting overlooked this month as we mire through the COVID-19 crisis is a celebration of Autism Awareness Month. For the past several years the Network has joined with Brio Integrated Theatre and Lynch Elementary School teacher Jenn Flaherty to mark Autism Awareness Month, a worldwide celebration initiated by the organization Autism Speaks. Sahar Ahmed Awerbuch, Brio founder and Network board member, says that because of the current social distancing restrictions, “we are limited to what we can do. We always love to involve schools and Jenn and I always thought that giving a comprehensive look at autism is important. Our goal was and always will be to educate and bring awareness regarding this topic.” 
Autism awareness is vitally important now. As our education system goes fully online, differentiated instruction for those with unique learning styles is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accommodate. Moreover, the impact of disrupted routines may be unevenly experienced by those who don’t function neurotypically. For some under-resourced students, all of this is compounded by the fact that they may not have computers or consistent internet access.
Awerbuch reports that Brio is planning to post facts and perspectives from families, teachers, and people on the spectrum throughout the month, which will ultimately be compiled into a video presentation entitled ‘Points of View: A Look at Autism From Different Perspectives.’ At the end of April this presentation will be shared on the Brio website, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and WinCam. We will be on the lookout for news of the presentation and in the meantime we can each do our part to educate ourselves about autism. The Autism Speaks web site is a great place to start.

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