Students Lead World Autism Awareness Day Celebrations on CampusApril 2, 2013

Students within Rockhurst University’s Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) program are leading the way by providing the campus community with a variety of opportunities to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and throughout the rest of the week.

Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, is encouraging companies, schools, universities, buildings and landmarks to “Light It Up Blue” in commemoration of World Autism Awareness.

“Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world, affecting one in 88 children,” said Erin Lang, ’14, one of the CSD students leading the campus effort. “I believe that if people have a better understanding of this disorder, it may help them be more patient and compassionate to those they meet.”

Students have organized events throughout the week to raise autism awareness among their peers, faculty and staff.

Mary Anne Hammond, community education coordinator at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics will be the featured speaker at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, in Conway 103. Hammond will discuss having a child with autism from a family perspective. This event is free and open to the public.

In addition, Rockhurst’s campus will radiate a bit more blue than usual. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to wear blue on Tuesday, April 2, and the lights on campus will be glowing blue all week. CSD students have also decorated the cafeteria in blue for the week, and will be offering free cookies there from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 2.

“The students have done a fantastic job creating a buzz and generating interest across campus,” said Carol Koch, Ed.D., associate professor of communication sciences and disorders. “They are truly making a difference.”

Kansas City buildings and organizations are also getting in on the celebration. In fact, the Marriott hotel downtown will be lit up blue the evening of April 2.

To learn more about World Autism Awareness Day, visit


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