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Autism Awareness Month: Art Auction Today to Benefit Students with Autism

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Montclair native and Apollo 11 fame astronaut, Dr Buzz Aldrin, autographed book for kids Welcome to Mars to promote STEM education
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A book and art auction will be held on April 26 to benefit students with autism. The book aimed at children, “Welcome to Mars” is autographed by Montclair native and Apollo 11 astronaut, Dr. Buzz Aldrin.

The auction takes place at noon at 101 Eisenhower Parkway, Room 300, Roseland, NJ and proceeds will benefit our feasibility program. 

Autism rates among African-Americans are the same as rates among whites, but African-American children are often diagnosed with autism at an older age, missing potential years of treatment per a report on PBS published 7 February 2017, “Children of color with autism face disparities of care and isolation”.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) being identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The number of children identified with ASD ranged from 1 in 175 children in Alabama to 1 in 45 children in New Jersey (highest in the nation). It is estimated that the annual cost of autism equals $126 billion in the US, a number that has more than tripled since 2006, as reported in a press release on 28 March 2012 by Autism Speaks, a leading autism science and advocacy organization, “New Research Finds Annual Cost of Autism Has More Than Tripled to $126 Billion in the U.S. and Reached £34 Billion in the U.K.” The research also found that non-medical costs account for the greatest proportion of expenses and that mothers of children with ASD are less likely to work, work fewer hours per week and earn substantially less.

Typically, the primary caregiver, mothers are called upon to serve as their child’s case manager and advocate, and on average, earn 56 percent less than mothers of children with no health limitations. Furthermore, there is no cure for autism and 15% of those with autism have full-time jobs, per research by the National Autistic Society in the UK, while 9% work part-time. There hence is a high global unmet need in autism employment and emphasis on finding suitable careers for students on the spectrum.

 People with autism may demonstrate exceptional talents, despite the varying challenges they face. Some companies have found that these talents can be very desirable for their work environment. One third of people with autism may have heightened abilities in pattern recognition, focus, and attention to detail. While these skills make some individuals well suited to becoming software testers, 80% of people with ASD remain unemployed. In recognizing the talents and abilities of all people with ASD, it is hopeful that other companies may be able to provide other opportunities for people with ASD to thrive, hence the idea of social media marketing which is a high growing industry fueled by digital advertising spend. It’s no secret advertisers are flocking to digital at the expense of traditional formats, however the latest data shows the shift accelerating faster than expected in the US. Per eMarketer, 2016 US digital ad spending will reach $72.09 billion, while TV spending will grow to $71.29 billion. That means digital will represent 36.8% of US total media ad spending, while TV will represent 36.4% (September 13, 2016; US Digital Ad Spending to Surpass TV this Year; eMarketer.com)

Advocates for children with disabilities are cheering a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court as a clear win that establishes more-ambitious academic standards for special education students.

Representatives for some educational groups and districts, on the other hand, have a more measured response. They say that the March 22 decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District sets forth a standard for the level of benefit required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that most school districts were exceeding already.

Both sides can find support for their views in the text of the unanimous decision, which was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for the eight-member court as reported in the article “Will High Court Ruling Raise Expectations for Special Ed.?” By Christina A. Samuels and Mark Walsh on March 24, 2017 in edweek.org.

Radio host Darrell Gunter from Gunter Media Group, Inc has a segment „Leadership with Darrell Gunter” on the award-winning WSOU 89.5 FM and he interviewed Newark, NJ-based American History High School Principal Mr. Bryan Olkowski, Special Needs Educator, Ms. Susan Carbora and Miss Helena van der Merwe, owner of A-Plus-Consulting LLC about the new approach of tailored vocational curricula for select minority autistic students that aired live on the award-winning WSOU 89.5 FM in the tristate area and wsou.net on 8 April at 8 AM EST. It will also be available on iTunes following the live broadcast.

We want to empower parents, special needs advocates, educators and others interested in autism spectrum disorder for an even higher standard of special needs education to provide students with 21st century skills and potential community based employment opportunities. We have a book and art for auction. The book aimed at children, “Welcome to Mars” is autographed by Montclair native and Apollo 11 fame astronaut, Dr. Buzz Aldrin. The auction takes place 26 April at noon at 101 Eisenhower Parkway, Room 300, Roseland, NJ 07068 and proceeds will benefit our feasibility program. 

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