Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month
Posted on 04/25/2017
April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, and around the world, landmarks like Niagara Falls, the Sydney Opera House, the CN Tower, the Empire State Building and the White House are lit up blue to support Autism Speaks’ campaign to shine a light on autism. Right here in Appleton, you may notice some landmarks bathed in blue, like Appleton International Airport, Houdini Plaza and schools within the Appleton Area School District.

During Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, AASD would like to feature two Appleton North students with autism, who have been self-advocates and advocates for others living with autism.

Jackson and Jack
The below message is from Jackson Schipper.

"I was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of 7, the summer before I entered second grade. 

My family and I were grateful to have a diagnosis that provided us with a road map for seeking proper interventions for the things that were hard for me, like socializing and self-regulation.
As a high school freshman, I am a high honors student, a three-sport athlete, and a musician.

After graduating from my IEP services, I now have a building plan for extra time for testing.  I feel that I have dealt with most of the bad parts of autism and am left with the benefits; I see my autism as helping me hyper-focus on school and music, to think creatively, and avoid investing in social drama.  I know all kids with autism aren’t the same, and that everyone on the spectrum has different challenges and strengths. Knowing how early intervention helped me, I have become a dedicated advocate for early intervention.

I was invited to speak to Lawrence University Professor Lori Hilt’s psychology class last year about my experience on the autism spectrum. I was also invited to speak at the press conference at Appleton International Airport’s Light It Up Blue ceremony on the importance of autism awareness, early intervention, and my belief that people on the autism spectrum should receive a timely diagnosis and on-going services according to their needs."

The below message is from Jack Knall.

"I was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at age 3.

I’m 16 now and don’t remember much about that time. But I know everything was really loud, and that made it hard to concentrate. I wore ear plugs to help. I still wear noise cancelling head phones to help manage outside noise. I have always liked music. It makes me feel calm. I sing in the Varsity Men’s Choir at North, and just finished my second year in the musical at ANHS where I had some solo singing and acting parts.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk to people, and organize my work, and I need help from a lot of my teachers in order to get things right. I go to my IEP meetings with my parents and teachers to plan for my future.  I go with my mom to the Capitol, to advocate for my rights.  This year, my mom and I went to Madison to receive my Senator’s presentation of the Governor’s Proclamation of Autism Awareness Day. It was also my 16th birthday, and Senator Roth threw me a party with donuts."

We encourage you to be an ally to Students with Differing Abilities.
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