Autism Advocates honored by BG City Mayor

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On Monday, April 4, Dr. Mary Murray, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Development, received well-deserved praise by Bowling Green city Mayor Dick Edwards for her work in the field of autism. Mayor Edwards read an Autism Awareness Proclamation to Murray and families of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) as part of April’s Autism Awareness Month.  

Murray has spent her career as an advocate for autism awareness. She played a pivotal role in starting BGSU’s autism and inclusion programs, and today, the autism community in northwest Ohio is in a much better place. 

“I became interested in working with children with ASD when my two nephews were diagnosed,” said Murray. “ I watched the struggles of families cope with children having tantrums and meltdowns. That coupled with the lack of resources available to caretakers and families of children on the spectrum led me to become active in the field.”

Over a span of 20 years, Murray has given over 90 workshops and, together with colleagues, developed an Autism certificate program at BGSU. 

“It was an honor to be asked by Mayor Edwards to accept the proclamation for Autism Awareness Month,” she said. “It is important for the community to understand Autism, and with understanding comes acceptance.” 

This year, the Center for Disease Control reported that the prevalence of ASD has remained stable, but 1 in 68 children are still diagnosed each year. According to Murray, those numbers are still too high and creating a culture of acceptance will only benefit the children diagnosed with ASD.

Another individual honored at the ceremony was Tabatha Titus and her son Ian, who was diagnosed with ASD. Titus is a graduate of Bowling Green State University’s master’s of Education program in special education, with a certificate in Autism.

Following her son’s diagnosis, Titus enrolled in BGSU’s graduate program in special education to learn more about her son’s diagnosis. She successfully completed the program and is now a special education teacher at Eastwood.

On June 10 BGSU hosts the 15th Annual northwest Ohio Autism Summit, bringing together some of the leading experts in the field for a day of learning and conversation. Murray, along with BGSU colleagues, has been instrumental in putting this event together each year. The Summit is yet another way to raise awareness and give educators, parents and caregivers the resources and knowledge to care for children on the spectrum.  

Registration for the Autism Summit is open now through June 1 with a special rate for caregivers, parents and students.