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By Kumarr Clark
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Mozart composed music and was considered by many a genius at his craft. Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of the multi-billion dollar social network Facebook is a social media mogul. What Mozart and Mark have in common is a syndrome that affects one out of 110 children at birth. It is a syndrome people get a misconception of when not educated about it and label ones who are affected by it as slow. Autistic people are not slow by any means; actually a lot of people who are autistic are geniuses, for example Mozart and Mark.

On Monday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. on the Blackwood Campus in Civic Hall, Professor Jennifer Hoheisel will be heading a panel discussion with people who are living, surviving and thriving with autism spectrum disorders. Hoheisel will converse with people whose degrees of severity with autism differ. This event will raise awareness of how to cope and persevere through and with someone who is autistic. The event is sponsored by the group known as (PACT) Parents of Autistic Children Together.

What one could look forward to while attending this event is being educated of autistic symptoms such as repetitive behavior, rocking back and forth, jumping and twirling, or repeating sounds and phrases. The event will give insight to people who are willing to learn about the condition. This event will benefit its attendees by testimonies given by someone with autism and parents of autistic children.

Sandy and Brian Newhall are the parents of an engineering genius named Ben. Ben has a form of autism called Aspergers disorder, the same type of condition Mark Zuckerberg has. The Newhalls explained the condition of their son and said Ben has complications interpreting body language such as facial expressions. He does not like loud noises and has intense emotions.

Reading comic books has helped Ben to overcome the difficulty of being able to read facial expressions and has made Ben a quick and efficient reader. Ben enjoys history and loves to talk about his interest of trains and Legos. Ben is now 18 years old and on the way to completing his sophomore year of college. He is an engineering major and he is not letting his condition stop him on his road to success.

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