SJU's Kinney Center Marks Autism Awareness Month with Focus on Sensory Friendly Events, April 13-22

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (March 20, 2018)—The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University will celebrate Autism Awareness Month by hosting its annual Autism Awareness Week, April 13-22. The events include a variety of programs for children, adults and families who are affected by autism. This year, many of the events focus on creating sensory friendly, relaxing experiences.

“Autism Week gives the Kinney Center an opportunity to thank our families, inform the community, and raise awareness to help support individuals with autism and SJU students studying to work in the autism field,” says Abigayle Jayroe MBA ’14, Kinney Center director of operations. “This year, we are embracing our learners more than ever by bringing in a panel of experts who will share tools for coping with sensory issues, offering supported family events, and the ultimate crowd favorite, the Kinney Prom."

Autism Awareness Week 2018 events include:

Friday, April 13, 6 – 8 p.m.; Michael A. O’Pake, Esq. ’61 Recreation Center’s Multipurpose Room

  • Kinney Prom — Kinney learners and SCHOLARS are invited to dress up and dance the night away at the third annual Kinney Prom. Tickets are available online.

Sunday, April 15, 11 a.m. – noon; Chapel of St. Joseph-Michael J. Smith, S.J. Memorial

  • Autism-Friendly Mass — Families, students, and members of the community are invited to enjoy an innovative, sensory-friendly Mass.

Sunday, April 15, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.; Kinney Center in Connelly Hall

  • Autism-Friendly Family Photography Melissa Kelly Photography will provide 20-minute photography sessions for families. The sensory-friendly sessions are offered at $30 per family.

Tuesday, April 17, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Cardinal John P. Foley Campus Center

  • Autism Advocacy Training —The Kinney Center’s Autism Advocate program sparks conversation around establishing supportive spaces for those with ASD. The training is available to interested students, staff and community members.

Tuesday, April 17, 3 – 7 p.m.; Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

  • Sensory Friendly Hair Cuts – A Cut Above Hair Salon and Spa will provide stress-free haircuts. Two stylists will be supported by Kinney Center staff and SCHOLARS to ensure a flexible experience.

Wednesday, April 18, 6 – 7 p.m.; Cardinal Foley Center   

  • ASD and Sensory Issues Panel: Defenses for the Senses — Tools for Coping with Sensory Sensitivities — This comprehensive discussion about combatting sensory issues in individuals with autism features speaker Stacey Monsen, creator of Target’s Cat & Jack sensory-friendly clothing line, who will discuss how her daughter, Elinor, inspired the collection. Starting the clothing line is designed to minimize discomfort in contact with skin. Panelists include Amy McGinnis Stango, director of Empirical Pediatric Therapy; Peg Monahan, a fellow in SAP's Autism at Work program, and Josh Madoff, a music producer and educator who has extensive experience teaching students with special needs.

Thursday, April 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Kinney Center

  • Pancake Breakfast and Open House — Students and families can enjoy B’s Famous Pancakes for $5 per stack. All proceeds benefit the Kinney Center.

Friday, April 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

  • Autism Awareness Luncheon and Fashion Show 2018 — The Aronimink Golf Club will host a lunch and shopping experience. Guests can also enjoy a runway show featuring clothing by Louella: Women’s Boutique. Tickets may be purchased online, and all proceeds benefit the Kinney Center.

Additional information about Autism Week, including the full calendar of events and registration links, can be found on the Kinney Center’s website.


About the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support: Founded in March of 2010, the Kinney Center’s mission is to educate trained professionals in the field of autism studies and research, while also supporting families through programming. Kinney programs include Camp Kinney, a five-week summer camp for children with autism spectrum disorders and their “neurotypical peers” as well as the ASPIRE Program, which helps Saint Joseph’s University students who are on the spectrum transition into college life. The center also offers programming for all age groups in social and life skills, aided by Kinney SCHOLARS, undergraduate students interested in the field of autism research and support.

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Director of Communications,, 610-660-3240


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 68,000 strong — provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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