Students sparred in a video game tournament March 13 at Bellevue College to raise funds and awareness for the school’s Autism Spectrum Navigators (ASN) program. Now in its second year, the tournament raised roughly $8,000, enough says program manager Sara Gardner, to expand in the fall.
“Because of myself and my own college experiences, I know firsthand how difficult it can be and what type of troubles you run into,” said Gardner, who identifies herself and her son as autistic. “Our program is the only one in the country that doesn’t charge families for these services, and families are thrilled with that.”
Autism is a complicated spectrum disorder that doesn’t look the same in any one person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren are believed to live with some form of autism, amounting to about 1 million American children.