Autism 101 Workshop to be Held at GCC February 19

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The rate of incidence of autism spectrum disorder is currently one in 88 people in the United States. Despite its prevalence, a diagnosis of autism is often misunderstood. Gateway Community College (GCC) will host February 19 Autism 101, a workshop sponsored by Autism Services & Resources Connecticut (ASRC), that aims to provide a broad overview of autism spectrum disorders. The workshop will take place at 6:30 p.m. in S211, at GCC, 20 Church Street.

The workshop is open to GCC students, faculty, staff as well as the public.

“Autism is highly complex and individual in its manifestation, the key issues of communication, social skills and behaviors will be explored in a way that is helpful to anyone – parent or professional,” said Kim R. Newgass, ASRC’s director of Outreach and Special Projects. “Our hope is that workshop participants will leave with a clearer understanding of the disorder, recognition of the impact on families, service professionals and educators and society and a desire to learn more.”

Newgass, the mother of young adult woman with autism, will present the workshop along with Sara Reed, ASRC’s director of Advocacy and Family Services.

The Autism 101 Workshop was developed as a comprehensive, single-session presentation about Autism Spectrum Disorders covering the characteristics and behaviors associated with ASD’s; educational, medical and therapeutic interventions; parent perspectives; interventions; and family support services available in Connecticut communities.

“While autism comes with some very serious challenges, Sara and I utilize our collective years of experience to make this program full of immediately usable, practical information as well as great insights from real life illustrations,” said Newgass, who has presented the workshop locally, nationally and internationally. 

Ronald Chomicz, GCC’s LD specialist in Student Disability Services, said he hopes the GCC community will gain a more in-depth level of understanding of autism from the workshop and he encouraged GCC students, faculty, staff and the public to attend.  

“It is an opportunity to have an open dialogue with experts in the field, to discuss the realities of what life is like for an individual with autism and how that relates to attending college,” he said. “Additionally, we hope the workshop will specifically help educators, community members and students become more aware of the variety of interventions that may be used when working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and how the interventions made by professors and teachers fit into the larger picture of a student’s life.”