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University Hosting Autism Awareness Expo

March 20, 2014

What do you do when your child is first diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder? While you have an answer to the original question, now there are dozens more. Where do you go from here? How do you best help your child? Thanks to the urging of a local parent, Averett University is hosting an Autism Awareness Expo for parents, families, caregivers and professionals who have or work with autistic children on Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Grant Center on our North Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

"I've heard from parents in the area that they've had to go blindly through the system and search for things themselves," said Dr. Jill Hamlin, Averett's director of autism studies. "It's a big maze, a big puzzle, to get through 'the system,' and parents don't want it to be so hard for others.

"I've also heard from organizations and agencies that they are having a hard time letting people know they exist and about the services they provide."

The expo will serve as a one-stop-shop for all things autism. Currently there are 20 agencies signed up to participate, and Hamlin is hoping to have a few more confirmations by the day of the event. Some of the agencies who will be in attendance include Building Blocks Center for Children with Autism, Negril Incorporated, Stonewall Recreation Center, Hughes Center, Camp Easter Seals, Highland Canine Training and Project Lifesaver.

"This is the place to come if you have questions about what services are available for your family member and you want to know how to best access these services. This expo allows us to gather all of the information together in one place for parents and families who need it. It's win-win for everyone."

For more information about the Autism Awareness Expo contact Hamlin at 434-791-7240 or email her at