Autism is something that can affect one’s life everyday, but for others it’s something that hardly enters their mind. Only a handful of students know what it’s like to live with a relative that has autism.
According to Web MD, autism is defined as “a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors.” While one might not be affected by autism directly, most people can think of someone close to them who is affected by autism.
Autism affects more than 1 in 100 people and over 700,000 people have autism in the U.S., therefore almost 3,000,000 people have a relative on the autism spectrum, according to the National Autistic Society. While this many people are affected by autism in the United States alone, one may come to ask the question, what can I do to help?
Orange United is a club held by teacher Lynne Merkowitz. The club hosts one after school event per quarter. In the past they have been on trips such as bowling, holiday parties or attending a school event like a choir concert or sporting event.
Orange United is a great club to join because it brings students with disabilities and their peers together. It’s a great opportunity not only for students with disabilities to get involved, but also helps students that volunteer to become more open minded and see what it’s like to try and help someone with autism or any other disability.
In mid September the students ventured to Pioneer Field to watch a boys soccer game. The next club meeting will take place on Monday, Oct. 28, right after school. The students will be painting pumpkins to bring home to their families.
While Orange United is only an after school program, some students are also involved during school hours with the students who have disabilities. Students can sign up to be student aids that can volunteer to go into the classroom during their study hall or get a permanent pass to the room for what would’ve been a students early dismissal or late arrival.
Some of these students with disabilities are also involved with the Special Olympics in which the orange football team volunteers after their practices once every couple of weeks to host fun and friendly games and competitions between the students.
If you would like more information on any of these events or are interesting in joining Orange United, please go to room 1404 and talk to Mrs. Merkowitz.