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City of Bloomington Sponsors Third Annual Autism Awareness Event Thursday
Updated April 27, 2015 7:59 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - In honor of April as Autism Awareness Month, the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department will host "Autism at Work," an autism awareness event, on Thursday, April 30, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall, 401 N. Morton Street.

The event is free and open to the public.

The event will focus on increasing the community's understanding of the benefits of hiring autistic adults. "Autism at Work" will include presentations by professionals and those with first-hand experience in working with autism, and will be moderated by Susan Rinne, Chief Executive Officer of LifeDesigns, Inc., an agency in south-central Indiana that provides services to people with disabilities. Light refreshments will be served. Parking is available in the City Hall employee parking lot at no charge.

Panelists will cover a range of perspectives and experience. The first panelist, Adria Nassim, is a graduate of Brescia University in Owensboro Kentucky and a person with autism. Nassim will discuss her perspective on the special challenges that autism brings to the work world. James Emmett, a Corporate Disability Consultant, is the second panelist and will discuss his career vision to change the business and disability communities by helping hundreds of companies create disability and inclusion brands. Emmett's overall goal is to support companies to become more inclusive of the disability community in all areas such as recruiting, training, diversity planning and marketing. The third panelist, Jenny Austin, works with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation and will discuss Work4LifeIN, a campaign to bring awareness about the importance of employment for people with disabilities throughout the state. The fourth panelist, Jennifer Halloran, comes from Milestones (a division of Stone Belt), where she teaches individual and social skill instruction to young adults with high function autism and other learning differences. Halloran will discuss teaching on-the-job social skills to autistic employees.

Over the past decade, autism has emerged as a major public health concern in the United States. Autism costs the United States $126 billion per year and affects an estimated 1 in 68 children. Autistic children living in the Bloomington community will need to learn the necessary social skills to succeed in the workplace, and employers will need to understand and learn to overcome the special challenges which come with hiring an autistic adult. Employment experiences are a key factor in the future success and independence of young people as they prepare to leave high school. However, youth with disabilities need employers and other adults in their community who will guide them to see what type of lifelong work they are best suited for and give them opportunities that will help them reach their full employment potential.

For additional information, contact Health Projects Coordinator Nancy Woolery at (812) 349.3851 or

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