Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, Teachers College

September 10, 2014

A contingent of educators from Ball State University is hosting the university's first autism symposium aimed at meeting the needs of today's college students who are on the spectrum. Putting Together the Autism Puzzle is open to the public and will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Registration is required and can be completed in advance or on site the day of the conference. Cost is $35 for the community but $15 for student attendees.

"At present, there are no conferences solely focused on the issue of autism in higher education,” said Assistant Professor of English Darolyn “Lyn” Jones. "We hope to make Ball State a leader in this field and to continue the conversation on an annual basis." Jones is organizing the event with Professor of English Elizabeth Riddle and Director of Disability Services Larry Markle.

Jones said the population of college students on the spectrum is increasing as the number of young adults diagnosed with disorders such as Asperger's syndrome, PDD-NOS, and autism grows. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 88 children have a diagnosis on the spectrum.

Keynoting the event will be David McIntosh, David and Joanna Meeks Distinguished Professor of Special Education. McIntosh co-leads Ball State's nationally recognized autism and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) degree programs with Susan Wilczynski, Plassman Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis, who used to direct the National Autism Center.

Along with McIntosh's address, the symposium will feature student, family and administrative panels and lectures and demonstration sessions to help attendees better understand how students on the autism spectrum fare in higher education and how to best employ teaching and advising practices for them.

Members of the education community, particularly secondary and higher education, have been invited to present papers, demonstrate effective teaching techniques and lead panels at the symposium. For more information about participating or to register for attendance, email Jones at