April 16, 2019
Writer: Jessica Morgenthaler

This month, people all over the nation are getting involved to help spread awareness and fundraising for autism.  

Autism is a behavioral disorder that is categorized in a spectrum of different levels of functionality. Rexburg community members work together in many different programs to help spread awareness and to help assist those with special needs. Different organizations including Journey's, Madison School District #321 and the BYU-Idaho special needs program, work to help those with behavioral disorders to be creative, happy and become more self-reliant. 

“We got institute on Monday nights, Hands is one of them, Life Skills on Thursdays and we have a big group on Events, they plan one big event once a month, it’s really cool," said Ethan Stencil, a student at BYU-Idaho who volunteers with special needs on campus.  “A great way you can spread any kind of awareness is to get involved, get boots on the ground, go to the events, they’re so fun, and it’s so cool to just get to know the friends.” (Full schedule provided below) 

This club is open to and involves people from all over Madison County. 

"Autism is a spectrum, which means they can be really sever or high functioning,” said Wendy Sakota, a consulting teacher at Madison School District. “With autism they can be non-verbal but they can also be high functioning, very intelligent kids so it’s a spectrum and I think through the last few years we’ve come to understand that a little bit better. But as a whole, we need to understand it even more." 

Sakota said they work closely with Madison Cares which works in the community to help assist and spread awareness about mental health.  

For more information about these programs visit:

http://www.autism-society.org/

http://www.byui.edu/activities/service/description-and-student-contacts

https://madisonaz.org/about/departments/special-education/

BYU-Idaho Special Needs Classes: 

Special Needs Life Skills- Thursdays @ 7:00pm, Hinckley 286 

Special Needs Institute- Mondays @ 4:30-5pm, Hinkley 251  

Special Needs Hands- Wednesdays @ 7:00pm, Hinckley 271