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Faculty, administrators and students continue to raise awareness and advocate for the neurodivergent community.

Supporting and advocating for individuals on the autism spectrum has been a priority for Adelphi University for many years. And this year our faculty members, students and alumni continue to contribute to research and raise awareness.

Bridges Gets Gold

The Bridges to Adelphi program provides students on the autism spectrum with individualized comprehensive academic, social and vocational services and prepares them for career success and independence through its newly launched driver education component.

Bridges to Adelphi, under the leadership of Director Diana Damilatis-Kull ‘10, MA ‘12, MA ‘14, and Senior Associate Director Stephanie Grindell, MA ‘16, was named a 2022–2023 Gold Grand Winner by NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education). Bridges also received gold awards in two categories: Academic Advising Careers Graduate Professional and related; and Equity Inclusion Social Justice and related.

According to NASPA, these awards “recognize the contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services and effective administration. NASPA’s Excellence Awards cover 11 categories crucial to the success of students. Sharing our successes benefit students, improves institutions and promotes our profession.”

A Professor Shares His Expertise

Stephen Shore, EdD, clinical associate professor of special education in the Ruth S. Ammon College of Education and Health Sciences, has spoken about autism at over 1,000 conferences around the world and his experience of being a professor on the spectrum. He emphasizes the value of recognizing and working with the strengths of neurodivergent people rather than focusing on their weaknesses and areas they need to improve.

On April 3, Dr. Shore was invited to participate in “Autism Awareness Day: Inclusion for Health Through the Life Course,” which was jointly organized by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, Qatar, the World Health Organization and UNICEF at the United Nations Headquarters. Dr. Shore addressed the four A’s of autism—awareness, acceptance, appreciation and action—and posted a recording of his speech on his LinkedIn.

A Social Worker and Doctoral Student Speaks Out

Dena Gassner, a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work and a federally appointed member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) advising the White House on autism research, co-authoredThere is no epidemic of autism. It’s an epidemic of need” for the journal STAT. The article argues that the increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be explained by clinicians getting better at identifying and diagnosing autism. Gassner was interviewed on PBS News Hour in a segment titled “Why more children are being diagnosed with autism and what it means for their families.”

She also presented “Increasing Autism Numbers: Should We Be Concerned?” during Adelphi’s Public Health Week, during which she broke down the possible implications of the increases, including gender and racial equity enhancement.

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