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UofGH hosts Guelph-Humber Autism Down Syndrome Day on March 26

The University of Guelph-Humber hosts the annual Guelph-Humber Autism Down Syndrome Day on March 26.

Hosting events like Guelph-Humber Autism Down Syndrome Day helps to not only raise awareness, but students can connect with each other and share experiences, Dilshan Jayasinghe, a third-year Business student with autism, said.

Three years ago, Jayasinghe took in the Easy Start Transition Program, hosted by Humber College’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre. After he talked to other participants at the event, he realized many with disabilities and special needs are intimidated by the idea of a university education and sure of the supports in place for them.

“I want to show others that are starting their post-secondary journey they too can succeed,” said Jayasinghe. “I want to inspire them to follow their dreams.”

Having previously hosted events to raise awareness about autism in high school, Jayasinghe continued the tradition at the University of Guelph-Humber.

Jayasinghe said the event would not have been possible without help from Student Life, IGNITE, the Guelph-Humber Advertising and Marketing Association, the Guelph-Humber Consulting Association, the Early Childhood Studies Society and volunteers.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is the name for a group of complex developmental disorders, whereas Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disability.

“I wanted to bring this event to UofGH because I am still passionate about this topic,” Jayasinghe said. “That first year when I was promoting this event to students, most of the people that volunteered ended up becoming my friends. There’s a sense of community in this building and I want to share that.”

The event will feature displays, pop-culture trivia, giveaways, a puzzle-making challenge and more. Each year, organizers celebrate an individual from the pop culture realm who has broken down barriers. This year, “The Good Doctor,” a CTV show about an autistic surgeon, will be the focus.

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