On Sunday, April 8, 2018 a group of students and alumni of the College Experience joined the Saint Rose community for their third annual Autism U-Knighted Walk. The Autism Walk lasted from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM with proceeds benefiting the college’s Friday Knights Program that provides safe and fun activities for students to do in the evening. Proceeds also benefited Dylan’s Wings of Change, which was founded to honor the memory of Dylan Hockley who lost his life during the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012. The Council for Exceptional Children also sponsored the event and Saint Rose student, Jacquelyn Fossati helped organize the event with her dedicated team!

Students at Austism Walk

Featured in this photograph are Andrew, Christopher, and Joe posing with their new friends, Allie; Chrissy; Brittany; and their mother, Debbie

The College Experience participants enjoyed the many booths that featured the sale of t-shirts, baked goods, and the free booths that provided fun activities such as creating sensory, stress balls (balloons filled with flour).  Our alumnus, Chris dominated in a competitive game of Frisbee that involved aiming the disc in a barrel from which he emerged a winner!  The day was organized by the Saint Rose student, Jacquelyn Fossati with all of her dedicated supporters raging against the unseasonable, April coldness with their profound Autism Awesomeness!

The autism spectrum is estimated to affect 1 out of 68 children in accordance with the most updated research.  The characteristics and challenges vary with each individual.  There is a common expression in the autism community that states, “When you have met one person with autism…you have met oneperson with autism!” But some of the most common traits are a difficulty reading the emotions of other people such as sarcasm and becoming distressed when one’s routine is disrupted. It is common for the College Experience to have students on the autism spectrum and we look forward to seeing them thrive as we work to make their realities as pleasant as possible.