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“Action for Autism” group excited to get students involved


Activist groups are not uncommon on Loyola’s campus, and the Action for Autism club is no exception.

Action for Autism (AFA) is dedicated to educating Loyola students about people who identify along the Autism spectrum. It also promotes awareness of the different abilities of those on the Autism spectrum, both young and old.

Students are involved in AFA for several different reasons. For instance, Chelsea Marquis ‘18 worked as a mentor for a little girl on the spectrum in her junior year of high school. “She was just the cutest, sweetest girl I ever met,” said Maequis.  “And when I go home I still see her.” Marquis said that this little girl really pushed her to join AFA.

Treasurer of AFA, Paige Hvizdos ‘18, is used to being involved in Autism awareness events in her hometown with her brother, Seth, who was diagnosed with Apraxia PDD (pervasive deficit disorder). Last year Hvizdos frequently went home for events “because [she] missed them so much” and the group was not very active at Loyola. This year, however, the executive board for AFA is determined to host events and activities on campus to promote involvement.

President of AFA, Diana Dautzenberg ‘16, is especially excited. “Ever since I’ve been a freshmen there hasn’t been a huge presence on campus and it’s been my goal ever since,” shared Dautzenberg. “That’s why in April, I just want to see the whole campus light up blue.” She explained that April is Autism Awareness month, and that she wants to see similar awareness and activity that events like Relay for Life have on campus. “This year we’re really increasing our activity,” said Dautzenberg. “Getting guest speakers in, sending kids to work with different partnerships with Johns Hopkins, making sure that everyone really has an opportunity (to get involved).”

AFA was also involved with the “One Question” event Loyola hosted earlier this semester with the Arc of Baltimore, a nonprofit organization that supports adults with intellectual and physical disabilities and their families. AFA is actually planning to combine forces with the Arc again this year for different events. “A lot of members are interested in direct contact activities, where they work specifically with people with Autism,” said Dautzenberg.

“[Working with the Arc of Baltimore] is great because no one really thinks of adults as having Autism, but when they grow up, you know, they still have Autism, and it’s important to work with them then, too,” Hvizdos said. She went on to explain that when someone is diagnosed with Autism, there isn’t “one type.” “This really stresses the [AFA’s] importance of awareness of how every single person who has Autism is different, no matter what the severity is.”

Many of the members of AFA are Speech Pathology and Education majors, but it’s certainly not a requirement to join. If you’d like to know more about Action for Autism, contact the club at [email protected] and be sure to follow them on Facebook (Action for Autism LUM) and Instagram (action4autism_lum).


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“Action for Autism” group excited to get students involved