WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 20, 2021 — West Liberty University senior Rosie Brill of Wheeling coordinated a workshop and activities today in honor of autism awareness.
A Creative Arts Therapy major, Brill organized the programming and many students took part in it from 10 a.m. – noon. Then at noon, she hosted a Zoom meeting to allow participants to hear from Allison Bruning, an educator who works with students with special needs.
“I’m working an internship with Kate Billings in the Student Activities office. I’ve known people with the diagnosis of autism and some feel challenged and think others don’t understand. I also have the diagnosis myself. I’m hoping to help others gain confidence as they express their emotions through art,” said Brill. “Art is very healing.”
Brill has a long-term goal of graduate school and working in the professional field of counseling and looks forward to the upcoming approval of the Art Therapy Master’s Degree program here at WLU.
The event included jigsaw puzzles, writing optimistic letters to anyone who has the autism diagnosis, therapeutic art (painting, coloring, and solving problems with clay.)
Billings is the director of Student Activities and took part in the event by assisting Brill in setting up a safe Zoom event.
Participants were also asked to complete six survey questions on autism awareness.
Students and staff were encouraged to wear blue too, as this is the official awareness color that has been used over the past few years and began as part of the Light it Up Blue campaign, led by the Autism Speaks research organization.
West Liberty University is the only public university in the State of West Virginia offering an undergraduate degree and will offer a graduate degree in Art Therapy and Counseling in the fall of 2021 (pending approval). The degree program at WLU is housed in the College of Arts and Communication and is under the direction of Dr. Susan Ridley.