July 10, 2011

Student Use His Voice and Spirit to Shine a Light on Autism Awareness

By B&SC News Team

Student Use His Voice and Spirit to Shine a Light on Autism Awareness

While succeeding in college is a challenge for many young adults, for those with Asperger syndrome, the everyday challenges of college life can be even more daunting. Alex Hale, an Associate’s of Applied Science Business major at Bryant & Stratton’s Cleveland downtown campus, is not only rising above these challenges but is reaching out to raise awareness and hope for others with Asperger’s and similar disorders.

Alex was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, at the age of six. People with Asperger syndrome often have difficulties in the areas of language and communication, social interaction and repetitive or restrictive thoughts and behavior. Current statistics indicate that 1 in every 110 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, with 1 in every 70 boys being affected (Centers for Disease Control, 2010). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control indicate that the prevalence of diagnosed cases of autism increases approximately 10% to 17 % every year.

Alex is not only living successfully despite his challenges, he is using his condition to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders. Alex and his mother Karen Hale, Senior Admissions Representative at Bryant & Stratton, have been chosen as official speakers for the 2011 5th Annual Cleveland Walk Now for Autism Speaks, one of the nation’s largest autism research and advocacy organizations. Alex, a promising vocalist and song writer, collaborated on an original song and video entitled “Into the Light” which was performed at the May 24th kickoff event for the 2011 Cleveland autism walk. Alex was recently contacted by the Ellen DeGeneres Show and may be performing and sharing his message of hope with America! In addition to raising his voice to educate others about autism, Alex is also sponsoring a walk team, Alex Sings, to raise money for autism research and awareness during the September 25th walk-a-thon.

While autism is not curable, “it is livable” says Karen Hale. In addition to earning his associate’s degree, Alex aspires to be a vocalist and to continue to mentor individuals and families dealing with autism spectrum disorders. His instructors at Bryant & Stratton College state that Alex has taken a proactive approach to his college education and often takes a lead role in class projects. “Alex embodies the Bryant & Stratton spirit of overcoming obstacles and striving to make a difference within and outside of academics,” says John P. Girard, Bryant & Stratton College Cleveland Campus Director.

For more information about the Cleveland Walk Now for Autism Speaks, contact Karen Hale or visit the Autism Speaks website at http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org

See the Video Here