The Autism Collaborative Center hosted their Autism Spectrum Disorders 101 lecture on Saturday. The event was designed to inform volunteers by providing a big-picture look at autism spectrum disorders, as well as familiarizing them with the center.
“We want our volunteers to understand what we do and why we do it,” said Pamela Lemerand, the clinical director at the Autism Collaborative Center and the host of the event on Saturday.
Before the lecture began, Lemerand gave the volunteers a tour of the center. The facility has many accommodations for their patrons with autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a music therapy room, an occupational therapy room and playgrounds for both adults and children.
“This is a place you can learn about autism either through your course requirements, practicum or field work,” Lemerand said.
Lemerand’s lecture covered all aspects of autism spectrum disorders. She explained the behaviors that the volunteers will face at the center and gave them a background on the biological aspects of the disorder.
Sophomore and psychology major Allison Poyer attended the event as a prospective volunteer because the program compliments her major and she likes working with children.
Lemerand said one of the goals of her lecture is to inform volunteers like Poyer.
“I want them to be sure they understand the service and that they are not just volunteering with kids,” Lemerand said.
Poyer said she didn’t know much about autism before the event.
“I learned a lot, and I think I will be more prepared to volunteer here now.”
Rachel Dwornick, a junior and speech pathology major, also felt more prepared for a volunteer position at the Autism Collaborative Center after Lemerand’s lecture.
“I will know better about how to handle situations now that I have learned more about autism,” Dwornick said.
Lemerand is proud of the work the Autism Collaborative Center does for both the Eastern Michigan University community and the Ypsilanti community. She encourages student organizations to focus their fundraising and donations on local services like their center.
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