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Autism Spectrum News featured Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems Professor James Lawler feature: "Learning Neurodiversity in a College Program for Middle / High School Students with ASD"

01/16/2020

Autism Spectrum News featured Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems Professor James Lawler feature: "Learning Neurodiversity in a College Program for Middle / High School Students with ASD"

College students without disabilities are not cognizant enough of the different needs of neurodiverse students. The commonality concept of neurodiversity, of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) being deserving of equal opportunity (Silberman, 2015), is not evident frequently with students without disabilities. College students without disabilities can be advocates however for neurodiversity in empowering students with disabilities in an engaging neurodiversity program.

Pace University in New York City is engaging in an Area of Knowledge (AOK) community computer information systems (CIS) outreach program with the AHRC New York City Middle / High School (M/HS) in Brooklyn, New York, where Pace students are mentoring M/HS students with ASD.

The focus of the program is to involve the M/HS students with the undergraduate students on mostly personalized projects of virtual reality (Furler, 2018) sites on the Web, proposed by the M/HS special education teachers.

The foundation for the program comes “from person-centered planning principles (Holburn, Gordon, & Vietze, 2007) on other projects initiated since 2009 with the M/HS,” comments Professor James Lawler, coordinator of the program at the university.

The goals of the program are to involve freshman to senior undergraduate students in learning about the humanity (Prizant, 2015) interests of the M/HS students, and to involve the M/HS students in learning about the humanity interests of mostly peer undergraduate students, one-on-one on the premises of a major metropolitan university, so that the undergraduate students are learning about neurodiversity (Baron-Cohen, 2019) in outreaching to the M/HS students.

For the undergraduate students, they are learning neurodiversity in practicing recognition and respect (Baron-Cohen, 2019) of not only M/HS students with ASD, but also other undergraduate students with ASD, most of whom they do not meet often in the university.

Read the full Autism Spectrum News article.


 

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"AHRC NYC" featured Pace University's Seidenberg School of CSIS Dr. James Lawler in "Creating Personalized Websites through the Pace Service Learning Partnership"

01/25/2019

"AHRC NYC" featured Pace University's Seidenberg School of CSIS Dr. James Lawler in "Creating Personalized Websites through the Pace Service Learning Partnership"

For over a decade, Pace University has partnered with numerous AHRC New York City programs in its biannual service learning projects. Led by Dr. James Lawler, each student in the class is paired with an AHRC NYC partner as they work together to create a custom website highlighting his/her talents, skills, and interests.

“I was contacted by AHRC NYC Board Member Marilyn Jaffe-Ruiz in 2005 to help Darinka Vlahek; she [Marilyn] was (and is) my advocate for community service with disadvantaged populations, supported by Pace University,” said Dr. Lawler. “I began the community engagement curricular and extra-curricular programs for AHRC NYC beginning with Adult Day Services,” he continued, adding that the project has since expanded to multiple AHRC NYC departments and facilities, including Employment and Business Services and AHRC Middle/High School. To date, 1,028 Pace students have worked with people from AHRC NYC programs, according to Dr. Lawler.

Learning Together

Will Peters and his student partner Nabila Musharraf created a website focused on Will’s acting aspirations. It includes his resume, photographs of his performances, past acting roles, original scripts, and upcoming roles. “The project was very productive and I got what I wanted out of the website,” Will said. “At the end of the day, I took a lot away from this semester. I don’t where I’ll be in the future but one thing is for certain—I will be updating this website as life goes on.”

John Lipari was paired with Dylan Smyth. Their collaborative website showcased their mutual interest in performing music. The site features John’s two original singles and a music video filmed at his home.

“We are both musicians so that is why we were paired together,” Dylan said. “I learned a lot from working with John. We both chose the background of the city [for the website] because what better place is there to play music than New York?”

Pace’s Svend Trusso worked with Timothy McGillivary to highlight the latter’s artistic talent. “We loved walking around the Pace campus and view paintings together,” Svend said. “Some of the paintings were from galleries in my hometown. It was great to get to know Timothy this way.

Read the full article.