WARREN, NJ - Warren Township will be lit up blue for the month of April for “Autism Awareness Month.” The Municipal Complex was lit blue at a kick off event on Sunday. And on Monday, in a collaborative Autism Awareness project with Warren Township Schools at the Warren Township Library, students from the first and fifth grade classes wrote their name on a puzzle piece, symbolic of, "until all the pieces fit". The bulletin boards will be displayed for the month of April.
Some instead wear red for “Autism Acceptance.”
SEARCH Learning Group posted, “SEARCH and Warren Township’s “Light it Up Blue” event was a huge success! We couldn’t have done it without the help from everyone involved. A huge thank you to Carrie Kahana, Heather Fiorentino, and Rebecca Voegele for organizing this beautiful event. We also want to thank the Warren Town Council, especially members Vic Sordillo and Carolann Garafola, for their collaboration to make this possible. Additionally, thank you to Jonathan Kahana and the Warren Township Department of Public Works, specifically Joe Bazarnicki, for the seamless set-up. Another thank you to Mt. Bethel Vilage for sponsoring the refreshments. Last but not least, we want to thank Jammin' Jenn and Ausome Balloon Creator for the fun entertainment. Warren Municipal Center will be lit up blue for the whole month of April so be sure to go check it out!”
Garafola read the official township proclamation for “Autism Awareness Month,” and said she was “touched by the turnout.” Approximately 100 people attended on Sunday.
Last Thursday, educators from SEARCH Learning Group visited Warren’s ALT grade 5 students where students learned about autism, some common misconceptions and the significance of the puzzle piece in its representation. Each student wrote their first name on a puzzle piece which will be part of the district-wide display at the Warren Township Library in the children’s section starting April 1.
Some members of the community wear red instead of blue. Why? They wear #redinstead for autism acceptance. In contrast to "light it up blue" which promotes the awareness of autism, REDInstead promotes respect and acceptance towards autistic individuals. Different is not synonymous with deficient and autism does not need to be cured, a Warren Middle School student told the Warren Township Board of Education at a meeting last year.
RedInstead is a movement to support Autistic individuals as whole people, not puzzles. The idea that you only see pieces missing from a person if you have a preconceived idea of what “person” looks like. If you don’t, then you just see a person who’s not like you. This is the idea behind neurodiversity.
Last year, a Warren eight grader addressed the Warren Township Board of Education on the issue. Different is not Deficient, says Eighth Grader to Warren Township Board of Education. Click link below to read.