By Nicholas Hill
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – For millions of people in the United States, autism and Asperger’s syndrome are very serious conditions, whether it is they who are affected or the ones they love. With the advances in technology in the 21st century, those affected by these medical conditions can now learn, through different applications and websites, how to care for and help provide a better future for those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
On Nov. 19, Camden County College will host the Autism and Asperger Syndrome Resource Fair for iPad and Print. This event will include two presentations of iPad Integration for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Mark Mautone, president of Integrated Technology for Persons with Autism and Developmental Disabilities. This company says it “works with individuals with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities and autism. Our goal is to infuse the most innovative technology into a child’s learning repertoire and demonstrate its effectiveness in the learning environment.” Also, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc., a company that says it has an “extensive, comprehensive selection of books by and for people” with autism disorders, will provide a book fair. Lastly, there will be an informal conversation about apps and resources that can be useful in school or home settings.
Autism is a developmental disability that affects verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, usually noticeable before the age of 3, which affects the educational performance of the child. Those with autism often engage in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Asperger’s syndrome, also called Asperger’s disorder, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder which is a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. Those with Asperger’s syndrome usually function better than those with autism and generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development, although problems with communicating could occur as the person with the condition gets older.
For those not affected by someone with either autism or Asperger’s, such as Paul Hilden, a student at Camden County College, the event is a great way to learn about the two conditions. “I think it’s a great learning experience about Asperger’s and autism. With all this new technology, anybody can and should learn about these types of things,” Hilden says.
The event will take place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in Civic Hall inside the Connector Building at the Blackwood campus of Camden County College.