A Conversation about Autism

Last spring, students, factulty, and staff were encouraged to come learn more about what Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is and to hear directly from students on our campus who identify as students with ASD. Psychologist Dr. Alex Lazo was a guest speaker and shared information with the attendees about what some of the general characteristics are and how students with ASD on our campus learn and process information.

The highlight of the event was a panel discussion from 4 current Saint Mary's students who are on the spectrum who opened up to share their personal experience as a person on the spectrum, what it's like to be a student at SMC who is on the spectrum and what kinds of things they could use from the community to feel like SMC was a more inclusive environment.  The goal of the event was to provide information to our SMC community in hopes of promoting further understanding and creating a system of support and learning and we felt that was accomplished, as reflected in this feedback from an attendee: "Just wanted to send a quick note of gratitude for yesterday's event. I learned so much about people with autism - I thought the panel, in particular, was great." The event was nominated for Student Program of the Year at the Leadership, Involvement, and Diversity (LID) Awards. While it did not win, those involved were very proud to be recognized.