Hudson County Community College Beta Alpha Phi Honor Society Holding Autism Awareness Fundraiser

April 24 Luncheon Will Benefit the Nonprofit, Autism New Jersey; HCCC Professor Salim Bendaoud, a Neurosciences Specialist and Parent of an Autistic Child, Will Deliver the Keynote Address

 JERSEY CITY, N.J. – New Jersey has the distinction of having the highest autism rate in the country, and while awareness of autism spectrum disorders is growing, it is happening very slowly.

To provide area residents with more information on autism spectrum disorders, and to raise funds for New Jersey’s largest non-profit autism network, Hudson County Community College’s Beta Alpha Phi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society will hold a luncheon, “Raise Your Fork Against Autism,” on Saturday, April 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be held in the College’s Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center, 161 Newkirk Street – just two blocks from the Journal Square PATH Station in Jersey City. Tickets for the event are available at $45 each – $23 of which is tax deductible. (Checks should be made payable to the Hudson County Community College Foundation.)

The keynote speaker at the event will be Salim Bendaoud, a professor of Life Sciences at HCCC who  holds a master’s degree in neurosciences – with an emphasis on mental disabilities such as autism – from the State University of New York. Professor Bendaoud is personally acquainted with Autism Spectrum Disorders as he is the father of an autistic child.

Beta Alpha Phi Advisor and HCCC Professor Dr. Lloyd Kahn said that autism, Asperger’s Disorder and PDDNOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) are commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). According to a 2007 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the average prevalence rate for ASD in the U.S. was one in every 152 children, the prevalence rate in New Jersey was one in every 94 children. ASD generally manifests itself in children and adults in atypical, repetitive behaviors and in problems with social and communications skills. ASD is usually diagnosed between the ages of one and three years, and is four to five times more prevalent in boys than girls. ASD does not discriminate – it crosses all racial, ethnic and social boundaries.

Beta Alpha Phi chose Autism New Jersey, Inc. as the luncheon’s beneficiary as it is the largest statewide network of professionals and parents devoted to improving the lives of people with autism and providing assistance to their families. The organization, which was founded in 1965 and officially incorporated in 1967, provides several services, including a toll-free information and referral line, educational workshops and support groups, professional resources for teachers and other educators, assistance with advocacy and legal rights, and awareness building and community outreach partnerships.

“While much has been done to promote awareness and understanding of ASD, there is still much more that needs to be done. We applaud Professor Kahn and the members of Beta Alpha Phi for undertaking this initiative, and we hope the community will join us at the luncheon on April 24,” said HCCC President Dr. Glen Gabert.

For more information on Beta Alpha Phi’s “Raise Your Fork Against Autism Luncheon” and to secure tickets, please contact the Hudson County Community College Foundation office at (201) 360-4006 or email Dr. Lloyd Kahn at lkahn@hccc.edu.

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