Cook Carillon turns blue

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Look for a blue Cook Carillon Tower as Grand Valley State University participates in “Light It Up Blue” for Autism Awareness Day.

Across the nation, buildings are being lighted in blue. Karlee Davis, president of the Grand Valley Disability Advocates requested the university participate to increase awareness on campus and suggested the clock tower. Facilities Services worked with Davis and Kathleen VanderVeen, director of Disability Support Services, to install the blue lighting. The Cook Carillon will be blue for the evening of April 2.

Grand Valley’s Autism Education Center runs The Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project, funded by the Michigan Department of Education and Office of Special Education to provide training and technical assistance to educators in Michigan who serve students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

In 2001, Grand Valley was designated by the Michigan Department of Education as the lead university in the development of resources and training for school personnel and parents of children with autism.

This month, two Grand Valley professors helped draft the new Michigan Autism Spectrum Disorders Plan which addresses the needs of the 16,000 students with ASD in the state’s public school system and 50,000 individuals and their families living with ASD in Michigan.

The plan, released March 18 by the Department of Community Health and the Michigan Autism Council, focused on several key areas to support those with Autism including family involvement, education support, early identification and intervention and health care.

Amy Matthews, director of the Autism Education Center, led the effort in creating the plan, overseeing a committee of 51 people from across the state. Jamie Owen-DeSchryver, project faculty for START, co-chaired the plan development committee.

Learn more about Grand Valley’s Autism Education Center: www.gvsu.edu/autismcenter.