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Summit aims to understand Autism

Parents, teachers, intervention specialists and students alike gathered in the support and education of autism at the 15th Annual Northwest Ohio Autism Summit. 

The Summit was an open event to the public held on June 10 in the University’s Lenhart Grand Ballroom. The purpose of the Summit was to educate those in the northwest region on how to best understand and work with children and adults affected by autism, or ASD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder. 

“It (the event) was very insightful,” said student attendee Adam Mitchell, “I didn’t know the deeper effects of autism or how it worked psychologically until attending.”

The event was presented by the University’s College of Education and Human Development, and partnered with the Autism Society and OCALI, the Ohio Center of Autism and Low Incidence.

A major highlight of the event was the keynote address, “Meltdowns in Individuals with ASD: Neurology, the Cycle and Interventions” spoken by award-winning OCALI consultant Brenda Smith Myles.

According to the event’s pamphlet, Smith Myles has “made over 1,000 presentations all over the world and written more than 250 articles and books on ASD.” 

At the Summit, she presented a powerpoint with information on how to not only understand the details of the brain that affect a person with autism, but more importantly, how to react. 

“Melt-downs are related to sensory issues and many individuals with autism have more brain activity,” said Smith Myles in her presentation, and later said, “No autistic child wakes up in the morning and thinks that they are going to make life difficult for their parent, teacher or friend.” 

The focus of the event was on behavior and literacy. During the keynote, many who were present were educated on how individuals with ASD behave and process changes and information. 

“All individuals have malleable brains,” said Smith Myles as she gave light to those present, “we now know that we can help the brain rewire.”

Throughout the day there were various speakers and sessions on autism that were held open to attendees. 

“We have over 200 professionals and parents, and we are very excited to have had everyone here today,” said Alicia Mrachko, a speaker at the event as well as an employee at the University and OCALI.

“It’s serving all folks in the region, and beyond,” Mrachko said. Regardless of the success of the event’s outcome, the Summit still strives to make sure that it gives back to those touched by autism.

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