Seiter Center event sheds light on local autism services and resources


By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 11:16 am on Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Marcy Jaques, autism spectrum disorder teacher consultant with the Montcalm Intermediate School District, right, explains the MAISD’s autism program to a group of visitors at Autism Awareness Day on Monday evening. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

GREENVILLE — The idea that each human life is of intrinsic worth is not a new one.

The Founding Fathers penned it into the Declaration of Independence with the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It may have taken some time for this honorable concept to reach citizens with special needs, but the time has come around at last, if Monday evening’s Autism Awareness Expo at the Seiter Education Center in Greenville is any indication.

The event was held to highlight the fact that April is Autism Awareness Month. The evening was sponsored by the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD).

Guest speaker Dr. Scott Koenigsknecht explains the challenges and rewards that confront parents of an autistic child during Autism Awareness Expo, held Monday evening at the Seiter Education Center in Greenville. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

According to MAISD Autism Spectrum Disorder Program Supervisor Cyndi Geiger, the event was intended to introduce parents and other autism caregivers to the extensive community services and resources available in the area.

Turnout for the event was good, with well over 100 visitors perusing the booths which virtually filled the Seiter Center’s hallways.

“It was busy right away,” said Marcy Jaques, autism spectrum disorder teacher consultant with the MAISD. “It didn’t officially start until 6:30 p.m., but people showed up just after 6.”

Guest speaker Dr. Scott Koenigsknecht told the crowd gathered in the center’s multi-purpose room that autism no longer meant the end of a social or educational life for children or their parents. Koenigsknecht’s own son has autism and he has been instrumental in developing sports programs for children with the condition.

For more information on the MAISD’s resources for autistic youth and young adults, email Geiger at cgeiger@maisd.com.

Greenville High School Students Alec Fowler, left, and Aaron Hogan shared information about the school’s Link program. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

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