Muncie Community Unites to Tell Stories of Autism: Often Misunderstood Disorder to Take Center Stage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2013
MUNCIE – As the old saying goes, “You never truly understand a person until you have a walked a mile in their shoes.” That adage comes to life Nov. 2nd as Muncie comes together to Face Autism from all angles by sharing the stories of those who face autism each day.
Through a partnership between The Facing Project and Interlock East Central Indiana, 17 stories were collected from the first-person perspectives of moms, dads, caregivers, and those on the autism disorder spectrum. The memories and experiences were compiled into a book titled, Facing Autism in Muncie. In addition to the stories, the book provides a directory for all autism resources in the greater Muncie area—including families who are willing to be contacted as an additional support network.
The stories will come to life on the Muncie Civic Theatre Main Stage at 6 p.m. Nov. 2nd through the Facing Autism in Muncie Monologues. Adapted from the book, this performance event will be a night of celebration and reflection. Attendees will receive a free copy of the book.
Chad Shelley, president of Interlock – an organization that connects people to services, support systems, educational programs, and resources needed by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder – hopes this storytelling project will create better understanding of the disorder.
“These stories will take you on a journey that no one plans to take,” Shelley said. “Our hope is that you will be inspired and encouraged that a diagnosis doesn’t define someone; it is only a part of who they are.”
Because of personal experiences, Mayor Dennis Tyler is honored Muncie has come together for autism and is proud to be part of the project.
“Autism is a word that is close to my heart. Long before my grandson was diagnosed on the spectrum, I served as an advocate for autism awareness and policy change on the Statehouse Autism Committee,” Tyler said. “Being a part of this project allows Muncie to shine as a beacon of light for other communities. Munsonians have always had a way of coming together to overcome challenges and celebrate successes. This has never been truer than with the autism spectrum community.”
The co-founders of The Facing Project, Kelsey Timmerman and J.R. Jamison, are excited to bring the project to their hometown.
“Bringing The Facing Project to Muncie through Facing Autism has been a no brainer. When J.R. and I launched the project, we made the agreement to give back to Muncie through Facing because it is our hometown,” Timmerman said. “Autism is often a misunderstood disorder by the general public because of the width of the spectrum, so working with Interlock to tell these stories to bring awareness has been a huge honor for both of us.”
The Facing Autism in Muncie Monologues will feature nine stories from the Facing Autism in Muncie book, with appearances by Tyler, Shelley, Jamison and Timmerman, and performances by the Ball State University Prism Project. Steve Brown from WERK Radio will emcee the night.
This event is free and open to the public. To learn more visit www.muncieautism.facingproject.com/.
The Facing Project connects people through stories to strengthen communities. The project inspires communities to tell first-person stories of citizens through the talent of local writers and actors, in partnership with nonprofits, business, education, and government, to raise awareness and create dialogue about a topic area. Founded in 2012 in Muncie, Indiana, by J.R. Jamison and Kelsey Timmerman, the movement is in communities across the US facing topics from homelessness, to human trafficking, to hunger, and more. To learn more visit www.facingproject.com.
Interlock connects people to services, support systems, educational programs, and resources needed by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to reach their fullest potential. Through grant programs, events, and monthly meetings, the organization assists and educates families in East Central Indiana living with ASD and works with local special education classrooms to accommodate needs of students with autism spectrum disorders. To learn more visit www.interlockin.org/.