The month of April is known for Autism Awareness month. Kean University has made it their mission to spread awareness across their campus and community. In a panel discussion, experts spoke on the importance of awareness and the need for it in our society.
“Today and every day, we must highlight the need to support people with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives,” said Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.
To help spread awareness, a panel discussion was held demonstrating the ways Kean helps to promote Autism Awareness on campus. The panel was held at the beginning of the month at 10 a.m. Speakers of the discussion included the following panelist:
- Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., Kean University President
- Stephen M. Sweeney, New Jersey Senate President
- Barbara Ridener, Ph.D., Dean, College of Education, Kean University
- Kenneth Green, Esq., Associate Vice President for Employee Relations and Chief Labor Counsel, Kean University, Parent Advocate
- Ashley Tufuga, Kean University Senior, Marketing Major, Member of President's Student Advisory Council, Parent Advocate
Collaboratively, these panelists spoke on the importance of spreading awareness for autism in order to strengthen our communities. Spreading awareness can help people come together and have better understandings for those on the spectrum.
“Their needs concerns and experiences are valuable and enrich us all. They help us to see things differently and question our perceptions. Society will be a better place for all of us if we all learn to accept, appreciate and accommodate,” said Repollet.
The panelists also spoke on the discussions and choices made that helped to better the Kean campus and community. President Repollet and others took their part in improving Kean and making sure that all feel welcomed when they enter the campus.
“What we really have to do is create communities, school communities, where all individuals are welcomed, safe and valued,” said Barbara Ridener, dean of the college of Education at Kean University.
Kean University has made many decisions to ensure that students on the spectrum can feel comfortable and safe on campus. For Kean’s Child Care and Development Center, a new pre-K autism classroom has been established. The university has also connected with industry partners to enhance workforce development for high schoolers on the spectrum.
Autism Awareness has been made not only across campus, but across the state. Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey senate president, shared many accomplishments that have and will be implemented in concerns to those on the spectrum.
“We created a registry and to make sure people didn't abuse people with disabilities. One of them is doing away with the word ‘retardation’,” said Sweeney.“ We actually had to do legislation to ensure that people cannot keep a person from a disability from getting a transplant.”
Autism awareness is an important to help ensure that everyone has an understanding of this disability. With better comprehension and consideration for those on the spectrum, communities can get one step closer to help those with autism.
“It is incumbent upon us to be able to recognize their strengths and be able to support them to learn to the best quality,” said Ridener.
For those interested in learning more about Autism and how to positively spread awareness, Kean P.U.L.S.E will be holding an Autism Acceptance event on Apr. 28. There will be a sensory room and an informative session about Autism.