Acceptance, Understanding, and Love

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Paola Solis

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Round Lake High School's Autism Awareness project was a huge success this year.

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Autism awareness heart

Autism awareness heart

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Wavebreak Media LTD

Autism awareness heart

On April 4, Mrs. Pamela Weichselbaum, a social worker at Round Lake High School organized an Autism Awareness project that took place during all lunch periods. Students pledged understanding and kindness towards those who have autism. Weichselbaum was overwhelmed by the response by the school. It is important for people around RLHS to know about autism, whether it is a student, teacher or parent. The more people know and understand the disorder, the more accepting we become of all differences.

Many children are diagnosed with autism at a young age, more specifically at the ages of 12-18 months, but in some cases less than 20% are diagnosed at the age of two. Since autism can be common in children, Weichselbaum pursued a career where she is able to work with students within the Education Life Skills class and the COP ( Career Opportunities Program ). With this Autism Awareness project, Weichselbaum wanted students and teachers to accept and connect with people who are differently-abled. Not only did Weichselbaum work hard on this project, she wanted students and teachers to take something from this project. “I would like for students and teachers to be aware of the high prevalence of autism (1 in 68 children) and that they will most likely be interacting every day with someone who has autism,” she said. “It is important to know that autism is a spectrum disorder and each person with autism is an individual. The world of autism is a field in itself and I hope to spark interest of some so they may want to further their knowledge through education.”

The past year, Weichselbaum also did the autism awareness project and there was a tremendous response then as well. It seems like this one-day project will grow each year. Weichselbaum wants teachers and students to take something valuable from this project , as in understanding what people with autism go through in their everyday life and also wants them to show kindness, that is why they had to pledge.

“Autism Awareness month is also an opportunity to learn about those who have autism or other disabilities,” Weichselbaum said. “Autism may not be visually apparent, but families and individuals with autism struggle with simple activities and situations that most people find routine, such as, making friends, accepting changes or going out to noisy environments.” It is evident that with this information, people with autism may suffer some sort of bullying and it affects them in their everyday life.

This year’s Autism Awareness project showed so many students and staff at RLHS that it is important to value those who have autism or any kind of disability. Showing kindness and interacting with a person who has autism and valuing their time will show that people do care for them. Giving the time to show that people with autism are loved and appreciated is a big thing because they need to know that. Accepting and not judging someone who has autism shows that no matter the circumstances, our community in and out of school welcome those people with autism.

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