Several members of Central Student Government gathered in the Chemistry Building to spread autism awareness Tuesday afternoon. CSG engaged passing students with their brightly colored table and wheel, which students could spin to learn facts about autism and engage in conversation.
Few metrics exista around austism at the University, Jawad and Edwards said, because many students are either undiagnosed or do not disclose to the university
Jawad said the issue of neurodiversity stands out to her because it touches so many students in some way, including all members of CSG present at Tuesday’s event surrounding this issue.
“What’s interesting about the team that’s putting this together is that we all have a different reason and experience behind why we think that this is important,” she said. “From an allyhood perspective we need to make campus more inclusive and accessible to everyone who studies here.”
CSG would like to make all students at the University of Michigan more aware of autism in the hopes that students will become informed enough to become allies to autistic peers. LSA freshman Usha Yeruva, intern to the senior policy adviser, said CSG aims to impress upon the student body the idea that everyone experiences autism differently.
“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism and that’s something we are really trying to push,” Yeruva said.
Last year’s campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion climate survey revealed disabled students are 145 percent more likely to experience discrimination than students without disabilities.
Education graduate student Jeff Edelstein, co-founder of the nonprofit College Autism Network, was also present at the event. Edelstein’s organization acts as an informational hub, connecting students with autism to resources they need.
“Around disability, outward or inward, if we are trying to create a more inclusive campus, students with disabilities need to be acknowledged to a greater degree and there needs to be stronger allyhood among students,” Edelstein said.