Article by: Keitaro H.
Edited by: Joaquin M. and Justin S.
Visual by: Yana P.
This year, the ISM community is taking part in Autism Awareness Week, which is organized by ISM student ambassadors. The entire week will be dedicated to enriching the lives of people on the autism spectrum, which in turn, will also raise awareness for those not affected. The student ambassadors have done a great job of planning a variety of activities that focus on autism, and through this week-long agenda of informative games and trivia, hope to spread an understanding of autism throughout the whole ISM community.
Autism Awareness Week is celebrated around the world through April 1-7 every year. This is an annual event started by an international organization named the National Autistic Society (NAS). It was initially planned to be a week of fundraising, which emphasized the encouragement of more people funding campaigns that work to enrich the lives of those with autism. However, as the annual occasion continued to transpire, it began to change and evolve over time. Presently, Autism Awareness Week is not solely based around fundraising, instead shifting focus to spreading general information about autism. Regarding this shift, Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS, says, “World Autism Week is a unique time for everyone to learn more about autism, whether it’s the general public, teachers or politicians.”
In ISM, Autism Awareness Week is coordinated by the student ambassadors. Marco Y, currently an ambassador group leader, strongly believes that ”Autism Awareness Week improves the overall inclusivity in the school, specifically for people with autism.” In addition, he remarked on the fact that awareness is vital to the school community, saying, ”it is important, so people don’t treat those who have this condition differently than they would normally treat others, as if they are aware of it, they will learn more about it and become understanding of people with autism.” This being said, he expressed his excitement for the rest of the week, reminding students to look forward to numerous games and activities during lunch.
For example, on Monday, posters were showcased in advisory. On Tuesday, a game of autism myth-busting was held in front of the canteen, with fun prizes for the winners. This Wednesday, there was an assembly announcement reminding the school community of the interactive activities lined up for the week. Following this, during Thursday lunch, there will be a “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” autism awareness game. Lastly on Friday, there will be a Kahoot sent to all students regarding autism awareness.
Autism Awareness Week ultimately fulfills its goals of improving and spreading inclusivity throughout the school community. However, the success of the event is dependent on the students and their participation in these activities. Therefore, a truly successful week can only be had if both the student ambassadors and the entire ISM community cooperates and is actively involved.