The Misericordia University Cougars for Autism Awareness student organization is hosting its annual "Sensory Winter Wonderland," a sensory-friendly holiday event for children with autism and their siblings. The free event is on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 12-3 p.m. in Muth, Huntzinger and Alden Trust Rooms 217-219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall.
Families will be able to walk around and participate at designated activities moderated by volunteers. There will be a parachute activity and a sensory box train. Crafts will include making a sensory blizzard water bottle, a shaving cream snowman and a Santa hat. Light refreshments and a holiday photo with a Sensory Santa also will also be available. The events are designed for children with sensory challenges. Student volunteers will strive to make this an opportunity that does not overwhelm any sensory sensitive participants.
There is no charge, but donations are welcome. All proceeds go to Cougars for Autism Awareness. Group officers are Alexis D'Amico, president; Jessica Lane, vice president; Madison Tumini, secretary, and Sinead O'Sullivan, treasurer. Faculty advisor is Lori Charney, O.T.R./L., assistant professor and chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy.
Families can pre-register at http://bit.ly/MUsensory19. Registration deadline is Dec. 1.
Cougars for Autism Awareness collaborates with the Autism Center in the College of Health Sciences and Education. The center serves as a community resource, as well as an educational and research entity for autism. The Autism Center offers a number of special programs and services, such as the Autism for Lifelong Learning Program, which provides pre-employment and employment services in the context of community integration and self-determination at the post-high school level. The center also offers a Summer Transition Experience for Students with Autism, a four-week class to provide adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder the skills they need to successfully transition to adulthood and the work environment, as well as a Summer sensory Social Camp and Autism Distinguished Speaker Series during the academic year.
Most recently, the center added swim lessons and an open swim session for people with autism on Wednesday evenings at the university's Anderson Sports and Health Center. In collaboration with Supporting Autism & Families Everywhere, the center also hosts a series of art activities specifically designed for children and adults with autism. The two-hour sessions are on Tuesday evenings, from 6-8 p.m. at the center. The art sessions are free and open to individuals with autism of all ages, along with their parents/caregivers and siblings. No painting or art experience is necessary. Pre-registration is required for the swim and art activities.
The center also collaborates with FUNctional Connections for sensory friendly haircut sessions for children with autism.
In addition to providing autism services, the Misericordia University College of Health Sciences and Education offers a post-graduate and post-credentialed online certification program in autism spectrum disorders for health care providers. Launched in 2016, the academic program prepares health care professionals in the fields of nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, speech-language pathology and more to work with clients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
The Misericordia University Cougars for Autism Awareness student organization is hosting its annual "Sensory Winter Wonderland," a sensory-friendly holiday event for children with autism and their siblings. The free event is on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 12-3 p.m. in Muth, Huntzinger and Alden Trust Rooms 217-219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. Cougars for Autism Awareness officers, from left, are, Madison Tumini of Mullica Hill, N.J., secretary; Sinead O'Sullivan of Pearl River, N.Y., treasurer; Alexis D'Amico of Riverside, N.J., president, and Jessica Lane of Elverson, Pa., vice president.