Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014 - Approaching Autism:A Walk Down the Spectrum

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014
Trip Name: 
Approaching Autism:A Walk Down the Spectrum
Trip Location: 
Bay Area, CA
Air Travel Trip: 
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

One in fifty school children in America is diagnosed with autism every year (CDC). Autism, or more generally referred to as autism spectrum disorder, is exactly what it sounds like: a spectrum that encompasses different functioning levels (low to high), genders, age groups, ethnicities, and races. Besides research and treatment therapies, one big point of interest is education and educational supports for children and families with autism. There is a stark difference in the number of supports and systems in place for children with autism and without: Only 56% of students with autism finish high school (Autism Society). Here’s where we come in! We want to explore a side of education that we don’t really get to see on campus. We will think about interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary ways to approach this inequality in education. Drawing on perspectives from sociology, psychiatry, neuroscience, technology, and policy, let’s come in contact with the people who live with it everyday. Let’s be exposed to a wide array of perspectives, experiences, and people to make for a well rounded knowledge of the issue, and perhaps inspiration to be innovative and change the face of education for autistic children.

Trip Leaders
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Betsy Alegria

Hey guys! My name is Betsy Alegria, and I am a sophomore from sunny (more like foggy) San Francisco, potentially majoring in Architectural Design. I am a firm believer in the saying “You are what you eat.” My favorite food? Trail mix. Some of my varied interests include architecture, art, education reform, animal rights, and music. On campus, I am involved with the Bridge and various educational groups like EPASA, Tutoring for Community, and the Phoenix Scholars. As a first generation student, I am particularly interested in exposing other students like me to college through tutoring and mentoring. This past summer, I worked with the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program and participated in the Chicago Architecture Art’s Intensive. Along with Devika, I am very excited to explore a new side of the education system!

Devika Patel

Hi! My name is Devika, and I’m a sophomore from the northern New Jersey! I’m potentially majoring in Product Design Engineering and I love assistive technology. I dabble in the creative arts -- dance, writing, some singing (I’m terrible) and I enjoy working with children and building things. I became interested in learning about autism after my senior project in high school, conducting science experiments with children with autism. Through this experience, I made many friends, but was exposed to the stark differences between my own educational experiences and those of my new friends. Inspired by my experiences, I now try and learn as much as I can about support and help for students with autism and their families, what nonprofits and governmental organizations are doing to help, and what I, as an advocate, can do.