Walk brings awareness to Autism

Published 1:02 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

By Carly Shaia

Special to The Farmville Herald

Kappa Delta Pi, the Longwood University chapter of the international honors society for educators, held its first Autism Awareness Walk on campus on April 26.

Over 30 people attended the inaugural event to raise awareness about disabilities in the classroom.

Emily Beahm, historian for Kappa Delta Pi, volunteered at the event. “We are trying to draw the university in (to understand) what we stand for,” said Beahm.

“This year we decided to go for it … We plan to make this an annual event,” she said.

The turnout for the event was successful twofold, as the proceeds from the walk were donated to the Autism Awareness Fund Foundation.

Beahm said that many of the members of the honors society work with special-needs children throughout their practicums as they begin to practice becoming teachers.

“(We want to) make the chance for every student… to have the chance to be successful,” said Beahm.

Molly Dailey, the membership chair for Kappa Delta Pi, organized the event.

“I think autism awareness is very important,” Dailey said. “I definitely think this is raising awareness.”

Dailey said she believes the organization’s event is doing more than just raising awareness about autism in the community.

Kenetta Carricato, a stay-at-home mom, has a son with Asperger’s, a form of autism.

Carricato, who attended the event, said the walk was a “wonderful” experience for her son, Ronny Carricato, and for those in the community.

Kenetta was extremely “proud” of the event and of her son, who was selected to be the opening speaker for the event.

“He’s just so differently wonderful,” she said. The event allowed her son to have the opportunity to feel “appreciated” by others as opposed to “being bullied.” Ronny said that “he’s just happy being who he is.”

In his opening speech, Ronny, a student at Prince Edward County Middle School, said, “Life with autism (can be) difficult … but it’s great.”