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DHS holds third annual Autism Pep Rally

The Alexander City Outlook - 4/18/2017

The Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy organization and Dadeville High School held their third annual Autism Pep Rally on Thursday afternoon to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder among the student body.

"Every year it gets bigger and better," said LCARA Board of Directors member Sandie Duck.

She explained that putting on this event was near and dear to her heart, as her son, a student at Dadeville High School, is autistic.

"I approached Mr. Hand (Dadeville High's principal) about putting on the event," Duck explained. "I wanted to bring a greater awareness to the school."

The first year this event was held, it was in the high school gym, according to Duck. It has had such a positive response and grown so tremendously since then that it has been moved to the auditorium in order to hold everyone attending.

"I'm impressed with how the school has taken a leadership role in learning about the condition," said President of the LCARA Board of Directors Maria Gutierrez. "We need more schools doing this sort of thing."

During Thursday's rally, the Dadeville High cheerleaders led the attendees in a couple of cheers regarding autism awareness, and awareness posters made by several of the students were showcased, before the audience judged which one they felt was best.

To better demonstrate what it can be like to have ASD, one of the teachers was called up and told to walk in a straight line while wearing safety goggles that had been smudged with Vaseline, looking through binoculars, having a student shine a flashlight at her eyes, and another student walking alongside her, asking her a series of questions.

During another demonstration, a member of the student body was called up onto the stage. While wearing the smudged safety goggles, as well as a pair of work gloves, he was asked to complete an elementary school-level math worksheet. As he attempted to solve the problems, a flashlight was aimed at his eyes, a container of dryer sheets was waved under his nose, and those in the auditorium were asked to make all sorts of noise, like stomping their feet and clapping their hands.

In the future, both Duck and Gutierrez expressed their hope that this event would not only continue to grow, but other schools would begin hosting events like this to continue raising awareness about ASD.

"We want to reach out to other schools, starting here and expanding to other counties," Duck explained.

"Bringing awareness into the school is important, so that they can be more supportive and inclusive, not just in their schools, but in their communities as well," Gutierrez added.

To learn more about autism spectrum disorder, and the various events sponsored by Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy, feel free to visit their website at www.leecountyautism.com, or call them at (334)740-0716.

 
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