Understanding autism dinner slated

MAYFIELD – The next meeting of the Amsterdam-Gloversville-Johnstown branch of the American Association of University Women will be held at 5:30 pm on May 5 at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, Route 30. The meeting will focus on understanding autism, a news release said.

There will be a tour of the facility at 6 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner and a presentation by Victoria Morrison, speech / language pathologist and autism specialist at Lexington Center.

Morrison is a New York state licensed and ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist, a news release said.

According to the release, Morrison specializes in autism spectrum disorders, social communication disorders, early intervention and preschool services, and fluency disorders. She has been a private consultant for Campbell House Psychological Associates in Schenectady.

Morrison has given numerous local, regional and state presentations in her specialty areas, to school districts, speech-language pathology conferences, and other professional groups, the release said. She currently works at Lexington Center, where she provides speech-language pathology services, including autism assessments and training, the release said.

The autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions effecting neurodevelopment, the release said. Those affected may have social deficits and communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, sensory issues, and in some cases, cognitive delays. As more cases have been diagnosed it becomes important to better understand those with this learning difference, the release said.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts houses the Transitions program which focuses on building academic, career, and life skills and independence for high school graduates and young adults with autism, ADHD and other learning differences, the release said.

The cost of the meeting and dinner buffet is $20. The dinner buffet includes chicken picata, a hot veggie pasta dish and eggplant parm, green salad, hot veggie, coffee, iced tea and cookies.

Checks made payable to AAUW should be sent to Mary Jablonski, 134 Prospect St., Gloversville 12078, the release said. For more information, call 725-1655. The deadline for reservations is Monday.

As background for the presentation on autism, those interested can read “The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism” by Naoki Higashida. Copies are reserved at the Johnstown Public Library under AAUW Book Club. Another book title on the same subject is “In a Different Key:The Story of Autism “by John Donvan and Caren Zucker, the news release said.

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