SJU’s Kinney Center Marks Autism Awareness Month with Series of Events

Sunday, April 2, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (April 2, 2017) — April is Autism Awareness Month across the United States, and at Saint Joseph’s University, the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support is increasing awareness of those affected by autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by hosting Autism Awareness Week 2017, April 21 – 30. The week features a range of events for children with autism, their families and the SJU community.  This year, two Kinney Center events will focus specifically on employment for individuals with ASD.

“We want to create awareness on campus and in the community by engaging people with thoughtful events and speakers,” says Ryan Hammond ’13 (MBA), executive director of the Kinney Center. “Helping individuals with autism find employment is a critical need in the U.S., and this year, we felt that it was a topic we wanted to focus on in our own community and beyond.”

Autism Week 2017 events include:

Friday, April 21, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Autism Awareness Fashion Show 2017 — The Kinney Center’s annual fashion show will be held at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square. Guests can enjoy lunch, shopping, a runway show featuring designs by Louella and a trunk show by Sail to Sable. Tom Salvaggio and Michael Hussey, president and division manager of Computer Aid Inc.’s Autism to Work Initiative, will speak at the event. Proceeds benefit the Kinney Center.

Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

  • Sports Showcase — Athletes from the Kinney Center will show off the skills they gained through the Spring 2017 Recreational Program. Parents, coaches and students are invited to show their support for the athletes from by attending the event.

Sunday, April 23, 9 a.m.

  • Sensory Friendly Mass — A family-friendly Mass, conscious of the sensory needs of individuals on the autism spectrum, will be held in the Chapel of Saint Joseph-Michael J. Smith, S.J. Memorial.

Monday, April 24, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • Open House —The Kinney Center will open its doors to interested parents and students. Visitors can take a tour, meet students and Kinney SCHOLARS and learn more about the center’s mission.

Tuesday, April 25, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

  • Autism Advocacy Training — The Kinney Center’s Autism Advocate Program develops, enhances and maintains workplace and academic environments that are supportive of individuals with ASD. Students, staff, and community members interested in this training should join Kinney representatives at the center, located in Connelly Hall.

Wednesday, April 26, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  • Autism and Employment Panel — Join professionals and experts in the Cardinal Foley Campus Center to discuss how individuals with ASD can successfully find and retain meaningful employment. Guests will hear from Peg Monaghan, global storage coordinator at SAP and a fellow in the company’s Autism at Work program; Branden Sacks, financial and portfolio adviser for Merrill Lynch who specializes in disability, social security and waiver funding; and Brittney Yancheck, advocate and financial client associate at Merrill Lynch with a focus on employment services. 

Thursday, April 27, 10:45 a.m. -12:45 p.m.

  • Pancake Breakfast — Come to the Kinney Center for the annual pancake breakfast. The cost is $5 per stack, and proceeds benefit the Kinney Center.

Friday, April 28, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  • Kinney Prom — All Kinney learners are invited to dress up, join their SCHOLARS and attend the second annual Kinney Prom in O’Pake Recreation Center.

Sunday, April 30, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Family Photography Session — Families can have their pictures taken by Melissa Kelly of Melissa Kelly Photography. These 20-minute, sensory-friendly sessions are $30 per family.

More information, including the full calendar of events and registration options, can be found on the Kinney Center’s website.

About the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support: Offering services since 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

Office of University Communications,, 610-660-1222


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.

Expand this section