Autism workshop

Workshop participants teamed up to create informational posters about autism inclusion Monday afternoon.

As part of a partnership with the Enterprise Autism Social Group, the Enterprise Public Library held the second of two “Understanding Autism” workshops for tweens and teens Monday afternoon.

The purpose of the workshops was to educate youth about autism and show ways to support, accommodate and include their autistic friends or classmates when socializing, said Shelby Dipilla, board certified behavior analyst in Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy and director of the Enterprise Autism Social Group. According to Dipilla, though the workshops focus primarily on autism, they do include information on other types of special needs.

“Basically I’m trying to teach inclusion to the kids and how to be accepting,” Dipilla said. “It’s centered around autism because that’s my knowledge base, but really it’s to incorporate all special needs individuals in the community. I really want to make inclusive events so everyone feels welcome, and the library’s been really awesome about that.”

Dipilla said that the workshops provide opportunities to educate the public about autism and supporting autistic individuals, which serves to complement the things autistic children are taught about adapting to other environments.

“We’re talking to the kids about how people with autism a lot of the time have social differences,” Dipilla said. “Sometimes they have difficulty starting conversations or staying on topic, so it’s really about being adaptive to them. With my work as a behavior analyst, a lot of it is teaching children and young adults with autism how to adapt to our world, and what I’m trying to accomplish with this is teaching us to adapt to their world so there can be more of a shared opportunity.

“Autism is a spectrum, so everyone who has autism is going to be different than the next. If you’re trying to make friends with someone who happens to be diagnosed with autism, it really comes down to getting to know that person as an individual and supporting them, being aware of their gifts and needs and how to accommodate that. If you see someone struggling in a grocery store, you never know the whole story, so just try to be supportive of that family -- try to be supportive of everybody.”

Dipilla said there are plans to have more inclusion workshops in the future and all interested parents and children are welcome to attend.

“People with autism and typical kids are welcome,” Dipilla said. “It really is beneficial, even if kids don’t know a person with autism, to attend these, because they’re helping people who have autism interact, but they’re also learning how to take that back to schools. I’m trying to pick topics for the workshops that I think the youth need to know more about.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Enterprise Autism Social Group’s Facebook page or call 334-477-4686.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments