Autism Awareness and Advocacy Club encourages new members to join

Members attended Accepted Students Day to raise awareness about the club on campus. Photo Credit: SCSU Autism Awareness and Advocacy Club.

Aaron Berkowitz – News Reporter

A club with a cause. Members of Southern’s Autism Awareness and Advocacy Club said they have plans to educate the campus about the truths behind the disorder while also addressing some stigmas that are associated with the diagnosis.

Morgan Vollero, Vice President of the club and communications disorders major, said the origin of the club came from the desire to spread more up to date information about Autism.

“People with the disorder have so many more opportunities than ever before,” said Vollero. “Some people have the idea that Autism stops you from being productive or getting things done, but that’s not the case at all.”

Samantha Foti, senior public health major and member of the club, said anyone interested in joining doesn’t need to be an expert on the disorder. The curiosity to learn more and aspiration to raise awareness of the disorder is enough.

autism awareness club-1“To be honest I didn’t know much about the disorder before I joined,“ said Foti. “When Morgan approached me with the idea to join the club I was drawn to the opportunity to help raise money for people living with Autism. I was inspired by the stories I heard of people who have the disorder and I wanted to help pass along what had been passed on to me.”

According to, about 1 percent of the world has autism spectrum disorder and there are more than 3.5 million Americans living with it today. The site also says the disorder is the fastest-growing developmental disability as it has increased in U.S children by 119.4 percent since 2000.  There is no proven cause for the disorder, but it has been linked to abnormalities in brain structure/function.

Vollero said the club is looking to continue to grow in size so they are still in the recruiting process. The club meets biweekly, but just had their final meeting of the semester with guest speaker Dr. Carroll from the university’s Psychology department on April 20.

Nicole Nadeau, senior communications disorder major and member of the club, said they are participating in the annual Walk for Autism event in Wallingford on May 3rd in another effort to help raise awareness. Nadeau said anyone interested in getting more information about the event or about joining the club in general can find them on Facebook.

“Our hope is that we can get enough members to be inspired and to join that the club will continue to grow even once we graduate,” said Nadeau.

Vollero said three new e-board members will be elected in the upcoming school year and she has high hopes for where the fresh creative ideas will take the club in the future.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to do anything for April this year, which is Autism awareness month, but we have already started discussing some great ideas that we are excited for next year,” said Vollero.

So far, the club has teamed up with solely Operation Smile, but Vollero said they look forward to networking and collaborating with other clubs/organizations on campus to help support other causes.

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas

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