Hundreds Turn Out for Inaugural Autism Awareness Event *UPDATED
Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP), and NYP’s Center for Autism and the Developing Brain held an inaugural autism awareness community outreach fair on April 2. The fair was part of the ongoing work to bridge access to community resources for families and also highlight research opportunities for individuals with autism.
The event hosted at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, brought together Columbia child neurologists, Child Life at MS CHONY, Child Psychiatry and NYP Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, as well as clinical providers including; therapists and child life specialists, educators, and nonprofit service organizations with a focus on autism.
The fair was the work of a task force spearheaded by Jennifer Bain, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology in the Division of Child Neurology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons; NYP child life specialist Alison Heffer, MSEd and Elisabeth Sheridan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine at the NYP Center for Autism and the Developing Brain. The NYP autism task force is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and care providers to educate the community at NYP and CUIMC about autism care.
More than 250 people attended the event. Children participated in a number of fun activities including face painting and playing with toys. Lakota, a golden retriever from BluePath, an area organization that provides autism service dogs, was a popular playmate.
April 2 is observed as World Autism Awareness Day, and the entire month is dedicated to awareness. According to figures released last year by the CDC, one in fifty-nine children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The task force looks forward to hosting this annual event in April 2020.