CLARK, NJ - The Crusader Athletic Leadership Council, a select group of Arthur L. Johnson High School student athletes, participated in the Clark School District’s "Autism Awareness Day" at the Clark Pre-School last week.

C.A.L.C. members, teachers and students participated in numerous events and activities throughout the day to raise awareness for autism while having fun, including: bowling, basketball, ice cream relay, foam ball toss, soccer, scooter relay, coloring autism ribbon craft, wiffle ball, obstacle course and parachute toss.

“The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to be able to assist with Autism Awareness Day at the Clark Pre-School. It was fun watching the ALJ students as they interacted with the young children, and I think both groups not only enjoyed the experience, but learned a lot while doing it,” ALJ’s Athletic Director Gus Kalikas said. “All of Clark Pre-School should be commended for the wonderful event that was put together to bring awareness to autism.”

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The C.A.L.C. extended its thanks to the Clark Pre-School staff, especially Kelly Moscarella, Ashley Tenpenny, Valerie LaManna, Stefanie DeVizio, and Lori Kowalski, for allowing them to be a part of a fabulous day.

“I could not have been happier with our 4th Annual Autism Awareness event,” Clark Pre-School Supervisor and Nurse Lori Kowalski stated. “All of those who participated in Wednesday’s event seemed to have a smile on their face from start to finish. It was a great day all around.”

The following C.A.L.C. members participating in the event:

  • Ryan Bohm
  • Wyatt Bohm
  • Kelsey Briscese
  • Liam Deacy
  • Riley Delaney
  • Michael DeMarco
  • Nicholas DiGeronimo
  • Jonathan Duffy
  • Justin Falke
  • Wes Giannobile
  • Sean Kovatch
  • Molly Panetta
  • Gianna Randazza
  • Anthony Rizzuto
  • Andrew Sanchez
  • Zack Sandler
  • Dominique Smith
  • Stephanie Visconte
  • Sydney Zamboni
  • Gabriella Zatko

According to the Mayo Clinic, autism is one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders that appear in early childhood — usually before age three. Though symptoms and severity vary, all autism spectrum disorders affect a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. The number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be rising. It's not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism or a real increase in the number of cases or both. While there is no cure for autism, but intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children with the disorder.