SJU Marks Autism Awareness Month

Kinney Center hosts week of events aimed at education, community-building

Monday, March 24, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (March 24, 2014) — Saint Joseph’s University’s Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support will host a series of events, April 7-11, to mark national autism awareness month and celebrate the Kinney Center’s impact in the community. In addition to programming, the University's signature building Barbelin Hall will be lit up with blue lights from April 2 through the 14th, as part of the Autism Speaks "Light it Up Blue" awareness campaign.

Co-author of the bestselling book Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism, Arthur Fleischmann will headline the University’s 10th Annual Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday, April 8, at 11:30 a.m., in the Cardinal Foley Campus Center.

Fleischmann learned that Carly, one of his twin daughters, had severe non-verbal autism when she was two. He and his wife began a journey to provide their daughter with as normal a life as possible. Carly found her voice at the age of 10 when she began typing her thoughts, which she had been unable to communicate until then. Now, a 19-year-old, Carly has more than 150,000 followers on social media and is an advocate for others like her.

Fleischmann is president of st. john advertising in Toronto, Canada, and will discuss his personal experiences with his daughter’s autism and what she has taught him about communication, branding and the power of social media.

“I hope this year’s lecture brings people who are interested in both autism and the rise of social media, especially as an advocacy tool,” says Michelle Rowe, Ph.D., academic executive director of the Kinney Center and professor of health services.

A brief book signing will follow the event. Registration is encouraged at

Other autism awareness events include:

  • B’s Pancake Breakfast will run Monday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Kinney Center (Connelly Hall, Maguire Campus). Ben, one of the Kinney Center’s adult programming participants, will serve up pancakes for $5 per person/per stack. Proceeds benefit the Kinney Center. Register online:
  • Financial management and planning presentation/workshop will be held on Monday, April 7, from 7 to 8 p.m., in the Cardinal Foley Center. First Financial Group will host this free event for families, parents and guardians. Register online:
  • Autism advocate training will be offered on Wednesday, April 9, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Kinney Center. Staff members will present on working with and becoming an advocate for individuals with autism. Register online:
  • Autism U cupcake decoration will take place Thursday, April 10, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., in the Campion Student Center. Autism U, a student-run organization based on Autism Speaks’ University initiative to create autism awareness on college campuses, will sponsor the event. Students will have opportunities to decorate a cupcake, learn about the Kinney Center, and offer a donation to support future events and development of Autism U.
  • A fashion show, featuring clothing by Louella Boutique (Wayne, Pa.), will be held Friday, April 11, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., at the Aronimink Golf Club (Newtown Square, Pa.). Tickets are $75. All proceeds benefit the Kinney Center. Register online:

“The Kinney Center, which opened in 2009, was born out of the University’s already established commitment to autism,” explains Ryan Hammond, executive director of the Kinney Center. “Autism awareness is something that Saint Joseph’s has been promoting for a decade, and is a daily part of what we do through the Kinney’s Center’s programming, outreach and advocacy.”

About the Kinney Center: With its roots in the Jesuit mission of service and cura personalis, or care for the whole person, the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support seeks to address the needs of those who struggle day-to-day with autism, either as individuals or caregivers. The mission of the Kinney Center is to provide multi-disciplinary education and research opportunities for students, teachers, professionals and parents who seek to improve and extend opportunities, outcomes, quality of life and best practices in treatment for people with ASD. The Kinney Center offers services, resources and information; support and guidance; and tools for public and individual advocacy that contribute to improved autism awareness and care. 

Media Contact

Kelly Welsh, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Arts and Sciences, 610-660-1385,


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide-array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni – over 60,000 strong - provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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