GRAFTON, W.Va. – Taylor County Middle School students are raising awareness for autism.  

Sign at Autism Awareness Week at Taylor County Middle School (WBOY Image)

In honor of autism awareness month in April, students and staff are taking the entire week to learn about autism and how they can interact with someone on the spectrum.  

Pledge on the wall at Autism Awareness Week at Taylor County Middle School (WBOY Image)

Students can pledge their support and put a puzzle piece on the wall with their name on it or join in on fun events like hat day where they can donate $1 to wear a hat. All the money raised from the events will be donated to autism research. 

Staff said one of the biggest things they are trying to teach the students is how to communicate with people on the spectrum in case they run into someone in high school or later in life at their job.

“It’s hard for them to communicate. It’s hard for them to make friends. So, we’re trying to get that across to the student here and what they can do like invite them over and have them sit down for lunch just say ‘hi’ to them. Just little general social skills so they can feel included and be a part of something bigger.” Cheryl Lipscomb, an English teacher at Taylor County Middle School and organizer of the week, said. 

This was the first year Taylor County Middle School held an autism awareness week. Scott Hage, the school’s Principal, said he was excited when Lipscomb brought the idea to the administration.  

Autism Awareness Week at Taylor County Middle School (WBOY Image)

“The concept of education, awareness and familiarity with individuals that are on the spectrum and have autism it’s just another aspect of the education that we are trying to do here,” Hage said. “…. To be a part of educating young people in what they can expect and how to interact with people that are struggling socially and interacting socially because they in fact want to be just like everyone else, they want to be able to talk and communicate and play and interact just like everybody else, if we can help break down those barriers and we can have any small part in that were all for that.” 

As of Wednesday, the school has raised $150 to donate to autism research.  

Their next event is to wear blue on April 2 for World Autism Awareness Day.