Autistic college professor speaks about living with disorder

autism summit

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – More than a hundred people gathered today to learn more about the growing diagnosis of autism during Autism Awareness Month.

Experts say it’s important focus on the positives not the negatives of this developmental disorder.

“Coming to events like this is really…I’m looking I guess for guidance.” Eileen Zigler, has a 21-year-old son named Connor who loves sports, and he’s just about to graduate from high school. He was identified at a young age with autism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 68 kids are diagnosed with the developmental disorder.

“We’re actually in the transition part of going into adult-hood. So, as far as being put out into the adult world, we’re just looking for help.”

Today, she and other parents, teachers and health providers gathered to learn more about this growing disorder from someone who can well relate.

“Rather than autism being a bomb….autism can be ‘da bomb, ” speaker Dr. Stephen Shore shared.

Dr. Shore is a professor at Adelphi University and an autism expert. He was diagnosed with atypical development and strong autistic tendencies when he was 18 months old. At this autism summit his purpose was simple.

“My goal today is to increase the participants awareness of what autism is,what it isn’t, and the latest things we are doing today to help individuals with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives,” Shore explained.

He talked about ways people can help.

“Using the strengths of individuals with autism, Dr. Shore taught. “As we look at autism, we see a widely ranging skill set; wider than the typical person. That’s part of autism, so the things we’re good at, we’re incredibly good at. The things we’re not good at we’re really horrible at. When we can find these strengths and use them, being able to do that helps this individual lead a fulfilling and productive life.”

Eileen Zigler shared her hopes for her son. “Just that he can be an upstanding and successful and productive citizen.”

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