The Titan Student Union at Cal State Fullerton is illuminated in blue lights for the month of April in honor of Autism Awareness Month.
The CSUF Center for Autism hosted Education Core coordinator Lisa Boskovich, who presented on autism, advocacy and neurodiversity in higher education Tuesday.
Boskovich, a CSUF alumna and third-year Ph.D. student at Chapman University, detailed the time she dropped out of college because of difficulties learning mathematics, which she later learned was because she struggled with Asperger’s syndrome.
“Everyone is unique. It’s not something that needs to be fixed. There is nothing wrong with anyone that is on the spectrum. I personally believe our brains think differently and process information differently, and that to me is not a disability.” Boskovich said.
She said autism awareness and advocacy is important for educators.
“When teachers know more, they can spot children who may need more help and refer them to help. Through awareness, things can change … with silence, nothing can change,” Boskovich said.
Leslie Martinez, another coordinator for Education Core, said people on the autism spectrum are often overlooked and feel like they need to be validated.
“I think it’s important to be open minded,” Martinez said. “Even in our planning committee, some of our students have disabilities and you wouldn’t have even known. They can do everything everyone else can.”
Programs that are offered through the Education Core in the Center for Autism are open to everyone, and include the “Fall Social for Adults with Autism and their Caregivers,” which helps reduce negative labels of disabilities, “No Limits Creative Arts,” a dance program that promotes motor activity and social interaction and an extracurricular, peer-assisted college support program.
Boskovich, who is also a writer and a poet, closed her presentation with a poem she wrote.
It was the first time she had ever publicly presented it and she said it felt appropriate to debut it in her “home,” coming full circle:
“I am the student not fully understood. I am intense. I am passionate. I am the student
not recognized. Yet, I have been in every class you taught. Not known and yet known.
My verbal skills may outpace my written organization. I am bright. I am brilliant. I also
need your understanding and help. I may not present as one, but I too claim a space on
the wide spectrum. I am here to also teach you. I am everywhere. You just haven’t
recognized me. I hope you will see me in the eyes of every student you have yet to
teach. I hope in seeing me, you will never look out upon a class the same way.”