*This story was featured on HCMediaOnline on April 26, 2016.
Laura Arnold, a recent graduate of Hastings College and current resident director in Altman Hall, is set to present “The Spectrum and Beyond: Spurring Conversation about Autism” on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Hastings College Wilson Auditorium.
The all-campus lecture is a part of the Gregory L. Plock M.D. Memorial Scholarship that she won during the spring of her junior year. The scholarship was established in honor of Gregory Plock, a former Hastings College Bronco Award winner, and is used to support a student with significant interest in a field closely related to neuroscience.
Arnold plans to shed some light on autism and discredit some misnomers associated with autism.
“The first half of my lecture is going to be about autism in general, what it is, diagnosis criteria and just get a good idea of what it is,” she said. “I’ll talk about some misconceptions such as vaccinations, theories and I’ll go into what applied behavior analysis is and finally, my personal experience with autism and working with ABA.”
Arnold is currently pursuing her master’s degree online at Drexel University, where she is studying Applied Behavior Analysis with a concentration in autism. While she’s already graduated from HC, she fully believes Hastings College played a big role in her academic development thus far.
“If I didn’t go to Hastings College I wouldn’t be doing this. I wouldn’t even know what it was,” she said. “Dr. Heckman asked me to work with his son and by giving me that opportunity, that’s why I’m doing this, pursuing my master’s degree and I’ve finally found what I’m passionate for.”
Along with Hastings College, Arnold specifically credited Dr. Neil Heckman and Dr. Jeri Thompson as playing a vital part in her pursuing her passion.
Overall, she hopes viewers learn more about autism and can discover a passion for treating autism like she did.
“I hope people can get more of an idea of what autism is, a better understanding of what it is and maybe a newfound passion for autism and just really how rewarding it is to work with kids with autism.”