The coronavirus has complicated the standard college admissions process, including standardized tests such as the SAT. However, it seems far-fetched for many students to abandon the tried-and-tested.
For years, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the SAT, has been a universal rite of passage for many high school students.
This year, this might not be the case.
The global coronavirus pandemic has interfered in almost all walks of life—with education being no exception. Over 400 colleges and universities preparing to receive applicants from the class of 2021 have modified their application standards: namely, dropping either SAT and ACT score requirements in high school transcripts. While most schools have opted to maintain this test-blind policy for this year only in order to accommodate for a large number of students who are unable to access testing facilities or face a deluge of canceled tests, others colleges have relaxed SAT score-sends for three years or even permanently. To say that this is abnormal is an understatement: this is unprecedented.
Some may shrug this off as a one-time incident. But for many, this is bigger— a chance. It is a chance to prove a point to abandon the formulaic. We as students have been told time and time again that standardized tests are not the end-all be-all of college admissions but seldom does it feel that way. Heralded is the test-blind leeway afforded to students this year, lauded as a potential difference-maker for college admissions in future years. For years education experts have asserted that standardized tests like the SAT are poor indicators of student success in higher education. This year could be the catalyst for change as admissions officers are able to look beyond the arbitrary than usual and can substantiate in later years that a (hopefully) four-digit test score shouldn’t be one of the primary indices for classifying a student’s academic merits.
But we may be squandering a chance for the future, as we woefully ignore an out-of-the-blue chance for change right before us in favour of our personal security. Call me a hypocrite—I’ve taken the SAT twice this year, and I wasn’t planning on stopping until I got my score—but aren’t we all hypocrites? The SAT will continue to be a staple of our admissions process year-in and year-out. According to CollegeBoard data, roughly 2.2 million Class of 2020 students took the SAT, up from the 2.1 million from the previous class. We high schoolers incessantly continue to sign up for the SATs month after month without a second thought even as we all breathe a sigh of relief that scores are no longer mandatory for the 2021 class.
“It might’ve been a great opportunity,” one senior remarked after being asked about numerous UC colleges dropping their obligatory SAT score inclusions, “it could’ve placed more stress on the importance of other aspects of our resumes—extracurriculars, service, and etcetera”.
But when asked about whether he would send his SAT scores, the senior responded that he would, citing that “a lot of other seniors are planning on sending scores, so why wouldn’t I?”, noting “after all, it’s college admissions culture, all of us want to get a leg up on the competition no matter what it takes.”
For years, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the SAT, has been a universal rite of passage for many high school students.
Religious groups in South Korea as well as anti-maskers in the States have protested against the enforcement of Coronavirus safety measures, conflicting with efforts to limit the spread of the disease.
Between September of 1918 and April of 1920, the notorious “Spanish Flu”, or H1N1 influenza A virus, raged across the globe, killing over 50 million people and infecting nearly 500 million. The Philadelphia decided not to cancel the Liberty Loan Parade, a promotional patriotic parade scheduled for September 28th , despite the ongoing pandemic.. On the day of the parade, 200,000 people poured into Broad Street, cheering and celebrating shoulder to shoulder in large crowds. As a result, the cases in Philadelphia nearly doubled in the span of a week.
Though we’d assume we would learn from our historical mistakes, these unfortunate events have promptly repeated themselves with the unfolding of the COVID-19 outbreak. With skeptical anti-maskers, restless party-goers, and an inadequate government response, the cases in the US have skyrocketed.
South Korea has been able to avoid the tragic situation of the US with a swift and efficient response from the leading health officials. However,with the reopening of schools and several businesses came a sudden upturn of COVID-19 cases. Experts suspect certain church groups who have shown resistance against COVID-19 prevention requirements and have continued to meet in groups that exceed attendance restrictions enforced by the government. Much to the dismay of students and faculty, schools have shut down and resumed online learning. A number of shops that have suffered from virus outbreaks have also closed their doors.
The Sarang Jeil Church is a right-wing religious group of Christians in South Korea. The group has become a huge topic of controversy with their members packing together in anti-government protests, and even going as far as to believe that the virus could potentially be a communist terrorist attack on their religious group. They claim that the South Korean president Moon Jae-In will turn South Korea into a communist country under his rule. Despite many of the members and even the Pastor, Jun Kwang-Hoon, testing positive for the virus, the members continued to rally in the streets, fueling the rapid ongoing spread of the virus.
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Don’t the baseless claims of the anti-government Sarang Jeil Church group resemble the baseless claims of many anti-government US citizens? Haven’t the reasonless anti-maskers also fallen victim to the ailment of misinformation and corrupt media? According to Han Hwan-ho, a member of the Sarang Jeil Church, members rushed to unite with their fellow members in order to “to defend [their] country’s alliance with the United States and our freedom of religion”. Similar themes of freedom have surfaced in the United States with anti-maskers claiming that coronavirus safety measures are an infringement upon their personal rights. Protests by anti-maskers in the US, who rally without their masks and ignore social distancing, have contributed greatly to case spikes in several states. Similarly, gatherings of church members who ignore safety measures in Korea have also caused a sizable portion of increases in COVID-19 cases. These are the times in which listening to government authority is critical in preventing the spread of the virus, and citizen must protect each other by following safety guidelines.
These unfortunate instances of ignorance and mistrust amongst anti-government protesters shine a bright light on the underlying social problems in both the US and South Korea as well as a multitude of other countries. Fake news and leaders who encourage irresponsible and illogical behaviour or beliefs have been shown to undermine attempts to mitigate coronavirus cases and have ultimately cost the world thousands of lives. Perhaps South Korea and the United States have more in common than we thought.
-Michelle Lee (22′)
Featured Image: Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
With COVID continuing to persist, is it worth it – or safe – to play sports?
“Of all the unimportant things, football (soccer) is the most important” – St. John Paul II
Sports are a key factor in many people’s lives that affects both their mood and their enjoyment of life. Watching sports is entertaining and the organizations that sponsor these sports make tons of revenue. However, the coronavirus has thrown a kink into 2020’s sports plans.
The NBA has arguably done the best job at managing the coronavirus. They’ve created a ‘bubble’ in which all teams, with their players and staff, are going to be playing in Orlando together. It has worked incredibly well so far in limiting the cases of coronavirus in the NBA to 0. The organization has successfully managed to organize games with 22 teams of players and around 1400 staff members without instigating any threats to public health and wellbeing. Clearly, the work that Adam Silver put into learning about the virology and logistics of containing the virus has paid off.
However, less can be said about the MLB. The New York Times reported on the Marlins, Phillies, and Cardinals, all with coronavirus cases that caused delays. It was clear to Zac Shomler from Strong Opinion Sports that Rob Manfred, the commissioner of the MLB, has done a far worse job at setting an example for the type of conduct that was to be followed in order to prevent coronavirus cases. Although a bubble like the NBA would be more difficult to maintain for larger leagues such as the MLB, it was still poorly managed as to how seriously players and staff should be concerned with maintaining their safety. These delays make it harder for teams to go through with playoffs, as regular season games become more staggered.
The NFL season has yet to start, but training camps have already seen cases of coronavirus pop up. Now, if a bubble with the MLB would be hard, an NFL bubble would be downright impossible. NFL teams would have 32 teams, with a roster of around 40-50 players each, and their own staff of around 3800 people each on average. It would be a logistical nightmare, and there is not even a facility to house that many people in order to have a bubble. However, teams have begun to check into hotels, so that there is less contact with outsiders. Teams and staff are living in their own hotels and going from training camp to the hotel everyday. According to the Washington Post, there were “56 players [that] had tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the opening of training camps,” but Allen Sills, the chief medical officer of the NFL, says that they expect more cases to arise, and that their goal is to quickly identify and prevent the spread of these cases. Even so, some players have begun to opt out of practice and likely of the season completely, given that it would even start.
These struggles are universal as coronavirus takes an ever larger toll on the world. Professional sports, although entertaining, should be considered as a luxury of a time before the pandemic. The leagues outside of the NBA get larger and deal with more staff and players, making any solution that is reminiscent of the NBA’s a logistical nightmare. It is far more important that the health and safety of the players is considered, especially in the US where the handling of coronavirus has been far less consistent.
Currently, leaving not only the city of Wuhan infected, but also other international cities vulnerable, China’s coronavirus is continuing to spread unabated. Patient zero appeared on December 31st last year, and the SARS-related respiratory disease quickly grew at an alarming rate. Today, this virus reached a shocking number of 42,000 confirmed infections over 28 countries. Most of the stores and businesses in China are closed, and other Asian countries closed down major department stores and places that usually hold a high population. In such, the Coronavirus became a global health concern all around the world.
After the virus contaminated a handful of people in Wuhan, scientists and the World Health Organization were quick to identify the disease and its origin. Researchers found out that bats were New Coronavirus’ reservoir host. Although scientists are not sure how it was transmitted, they predict that it either transmitted to other animals, eventually leading up to us, or was sold in illegal black markets (as China consists of a lot of black markets for animals).
Although scientists and the WHO were able to recognize the vaccine, the Chinese government denied proposing an action to prevent the disease from mushrooming to other countries. Due to its rapid outbreak, there were only a few ways in which the government could respond (they could only use thermometers and workers to look for potential patients). In such, people from Wuhan and other cities that had Coronavirus patients immediately took refuge in nearby countries, positioning South Asia and East Asia in danger. People were readily able to leave as it was difficult to differentiate the new Coronavirus to a regular cold. In social media, there were constant stories of how patients escaped Wuhan by taking fever-reducer drugs, indicating how easily people could get away from the government’s eye.
Currently, the control of the disease is still in the process as more confirmed patients are found all over the world. Although the world has a better grasp of what Coronavirus really is and ways to prevent it, it is still difficult due to its subtle symptoms and contagious characteristic, making everyone paranoid. To make matters worse, there has been racism against Asians from Caucasians that discriminate Chinese. People were trying to find a scapegoat for this crisis as their lives were put into danger. Korean social media is also quick to criticize foreigners from China. In addition to social issues, there have been political conflicts; for instance, many younger generations are criticizing President Moon for opening doors to Chinese tourists despite the virus. This phenomenon is happening to other countries as political parties clashed in these types of problems. Coronavirus is bringing political, social, and economic problems to our society.
Many experts compare this crisis to that of MERS and SARS. Although this virus is less lethal than those two, its rate of contagion is much higher. The only way to keep ourselves safe is to wash our hands and wear masks. Stay safe!
The 1984 Sino-British power transfer agreement stated that China would give Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years as the country would run under the “one country, two systems” principle. With an independent judicial system, the financially thriving country of Hong Kong demonstrates a great model of democracy and freedom.
However, its underlying relationship with neighboring mainland China has proven to invite a myriad of issues concerning universal suffrage, free speech, and independence. The concept of protesting or organizing mass activist movements in Hong Kong is not a foreign one. In fact, ever since 2014, Hong Kong millennials have initiated protests against Beijing’s increasing control over its legislative and judicial systems.
Though the protests currently happening in the status quo are unprecedented. Peaceful protests took place early in 2019 grew by June into marches of astonishing numbers, drawing hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers.
Although the extradition bill has been completely withdrawn, protestors are fighting for “The Five Demands” to be fulfilled by the Hong Kong Government. The Five Demands include investigations against police abuse and universal suffrage. The greatest public demand is conduct direct elections where legislative and presidential candidates do not have to be prescreened by a body of politicians from Beijing.
With all the chaos among protestors, Hong Kong police, and Chinese politicians, I was fortunate to interview two of my friends in Hong Kong who both wish to remain anonymous for their individual safety. While the two are currently enrolled in international schools in Hong Kong, they both hold a strong sense of attachment and devotion to Hong Kong’s heritage and sovereignty.
For the people who don’t understand what’s going on in Hong Kong, can you provide some background information on what’s currently going on with the recent protests?
A: The protests in Hong Kong began due to a very controversial extradition bill, which would essentially allow China to step into Hong Kong’s judicial system and try [Hong Kong] criminal cases in China. This sparked a lot of outrage among citizens who first started protesting peacefully. Over time, the protests have escalated. Although Carrie Lam has officially withdrawn the bill completely, the protests evolved into a debate about Hong Kong freedom and independence as well as overall dissatisfaction with the government in general. There are several points of contention, some condemning the police for their actions taken against protesters and others who are calling for Carrie Lam to step down. One of the main points behind the protests is that they are fueled by general dissatisfaction and disappointment with how Hong Kong is currently being run in accordance with China.
B: I’m sure most people know about it, but the protests basically revolve around this extradition bill that was introduced ever since a Hong Konger killed his girlfriend in Taiwan. Even though this bill might properly prosecute that individual, it means that China can interfere with Hong Kong’s judicial system and extradite Hong Kong criminals to China. There was a lot of opposition against this bill and basically this is where all the protests originated from. The bill was withdrawn a few months ago, but Hong Kongers, especially the young ones, are still demanding for free elections and transparency in the police department.
How are you, your friends, and family reacting to these protests?
A: I definitely know some of my friends who have attended, and I’m very supportive of their attendance, that being said protests have generally escalated far more now, with more police involvement and violent clashes. At the current state of the protests, it’s more difficult and dangerous for students to participate. While I don’t think I would go out and protest, those that I know that do go and protest, I hold immense respect for their bravery and dedication. I’ve seen footage and stumbled across police barricades and it is sometimes quite frightening, but it also just makes it all the more clear how important going out and participating is for the people of Hong Kong.
B: I’ve been told by my parents to avoid certain streets, subway stations, and landmarks. [My parents] are a bit passive and they don’t talk about the protests unless they tell me to be careful. They also get frustrated when the protests are blocking major roads and create traffic, but that’s all. A few of my classmates were really passionate, but now the protests are quite violent. Most of my friends who are foreigners immigrated to Australia and Singapore because the police are beginning to even harass foreigners or anyone who doesn’t speak Mandarin.
How is your school responding to the protests? (ex. safety, potential student absences)
A: My school is farther removed from the protest areas, so we are currently not having too many safety requirements regarding protests. Typically, during weekdays protests are scarce as they mostly occur during weekends. They haven’t actually disrupted our school life all too much, but our school has held an assembly to address what is going on in our city and offer different perspectives on the protests. Although the school is an international school and mostly neutral, it holds respect for both the protesters cause and the government.
B: My school has been closed for the past week because the protests these days are extremely dangerous. There was a college student who was shot on Monday as well as a man who was set on fire. These days, the protestors are even beginning to enter areas where protests never took place.
Have you ever considered participating in a protest?
A: I would say that myself and the people around me are generally more removed from the protests since not many of us are actually from Hong Kong and we always have the opportunity to return to our country of origin. That being said, most of the people I know are sympathetic to the protests. Although the protests have had a significant impact and inconvenience on our lives, we understand the necessity of this cause for the Hong Kongers. Most of us are hoping for a peaceful and nonviolent end to this cause with resolution soon.
B: Nope, I haven’t and I never [will] protest because it’s really dangerous with the tear gas and rubber bullets. A bunch of students got shot and a pregnant woman was physically assaulted by the police.
In truth, Hong Kong has a bleak future. 2047 marks the 50th year since Britain’s return of the country to China, encouraging a higher degree of Chinese control and autonomy over Hong Kong. The rubber bullets, bloodied heads, and broken umbrellas all symbolize Hong Kong’s brutal and prolonged fight for freedom, but defeat is inevitable unless the West fixes its disappointing response to this cry for democracy.
It’s high time that the president learns that he is not above the law.
On September 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into the president. This decision was backed by resounding support from the House Democrats, with over 95 percent of them being openly supportive of the investigation.
The impeachment inquiry stems from two main reasons. The first is the shocking news that Trump had talked to the president of Ukraine about investigating Joe Biden, the former vice president and his political opponent for the 2020 elections, although there is no evidence of wrongdoing by him. In addition, he has withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine just days before the transaction was to take place in order to focus on the investigation.
The longtime accusations that he had conspired with the Russians to sabotage the 2016 elections didn’t help, either. This isn’t the first time that the president has thought that he is above the law. A comprehensive investigation paper named the Mueller Report (after the lead investigator, Robert Mueller), which was released a few months ago, outlines the illegal actions Trump and the Russian government took to uncover harmful information about Hillary Clinton through the emails of government information she sent via her private email address. Although the report seemed damning enough, Trump managed to squeeze his way out of an impeachment. The anger of the nation continued to fester under the surface.
But now it’s erupting with full force.
What’s frankly hilarious is that the president thinks that he can run away from this situation and cover it up with flamboyant, inflammatory remarks and tweets, like he has always done. In a letter to the House Democratic leaders, the White House said that the inquiry had “violated precedent and denied President Trump’s due process rights in such an egregious way that neither he nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents,” according to the New York Times. It went so far as to announce that “it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort ‘to overturn the results of the 2016 election’”. To add the cherry on top of this fabulous sundae of distractions, Trump mocked the democrats by calling the house a “kangaroo court”.
What he doesn’t know is that the world is now mocking him. There’s nothing he can do; this week, House Democrats plan to hold their first public hearings in their impeachment inquiry into Trump for his communications with Ukraine.
From September 20th to September 27th, over 6 million people around the globe marched out into the streets to demand climate justice. With 2,500 events scheduled in over 150 countries, the protest turned out to be the largest climate mobilization in world history. The events were intentionally scheduled so that the United Nations Climate Action Summit (Sept 23rd) would be sandwiched between the two strikes, pressuring countries to take ambitious and transformative action.
The remarkable factor that distinguishes the climate strike from any other mass socio-political movement is that it is youth-led. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old from Sweden, spearheaded the movement when a couple of years ago, she sacrificed a day of school to stand in front of the Swedish parliament and protest. This solitary ripple has inspired a wave of global protests where the youth are taking charge. Many public schools have been supportive of the student strikers—most notably New York City’s public education system that excused 1.1 million students to join the strike.
In South Korea, more than 5000 people joined the 9/21 Climate Emergency work strike, and 700 for the 9/27 School Strike. Although the turnout rate was lower than other countries, the strikes were the biggest climate mobilization in Korea’s history, indicating significant and meaningful progress in Korean environmental activism. Below is what a KIS student who participated in the strike had to say.
“When it comes to climate change, people give up saying “What difference will I make.” But we need to realize that everyone can make a difference. Difference doesn’t mean solving the problem immediately. It means moving forward together.” -Alicia Lee (‘20)
The strike organizers chose the Korean government as their primary target, criticizing the administration’s defeatist claims that they were “already doing everything they could.” In response to the government’s investment in six new coal power plants, strikers gave the government a failing grade in the subject of climate action and demanded that politicians entirely halt coal investment starting from 2020.
During the UN Climate Summit, President Moon failed to announce substantial and concrete climate policy, instead making vague promises about ‘clear skies’ and increasing funding for environmental agencies. His response is lackluster at best, and detrimental at worst. It is far too late to enact tepid, small-scale policies such as “increasing funding.” Because behind its dismissive rhetoric that blames China for the entirety of its climate crises, Korea stands as one of the most environmentally careless nations. Korea is one of the top 4 ‘climate villains,’ a term referring to countries that have been most irresponsible and negligent about responding to climate change. It also is the OECD’s fourth largest emitter of CO2 and has the fastest growing rate of carbon emissions. And despite such outrageously deficient political action, there still seems to be a dire lack of urgency coming from the government.
Behind closed doors, the government has continuously claimed that fulfilling the conditions of the Paris Agreement is realistically impossible and incompatible with economic development. It seems as if Korea’s environmental policies are a tool for advancing the country’s reputation in the global arena, not a genuine political issue of concern. What we need from politicians is simple: an acknowledgement of the climate crisis and the government’s role in aggravating it. Of course individual citizens’ efforts matter, but there is a firm limit to how much change can be incited solely through grassroots activism. In order for humanity to avoid extinction in the coming 50 years, there is no option other than bold, aggressive, and revolutionary political action. The younger generation deserves to live, and we aren’t going away until those in power value us over economic growth.
America has once again been devastated by another mass shooting—the El Paso shooting.. The shooting took place in El Paso, Texas, where 22 were killed and 24 were injured by a twenty-one year old white man. This is one of America’s deadliest modern mass shootings in the history and the 239th shooting of 2019 in the US.
The shooting took place in a local Walmart in El Paso, a city right on the border between Mexico and the States. The identified culprit, Patrick Crusius, killed innocent civilians with an AK-47 assault rifle and later testified to authorities that he entered the store with explicit intent to target Hispanic people. Crusius allegedly posted a white nationalist manifesto online shortly after the attack and admitted that his inspiration for the attack was by the gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in March.
Such white supremist terrorism seemed to be fuled by the online community where zealous converts of radical nationalism find inspiration among each other to plan attacks such as the El Paso shooting. However, the government did not wield much power to be able to control or shutdown such platforms that spur violent acts because of the 1st amendment rule that boasts some of the most free-speech protections in the world. In the absence of government intervention, such platforms “serve as round-the-clock white supremacist rallies”, as the Anti-Defamation League wrote in April. With such racial crimes bound to continue, people are increasingly wary of their safety. They no longer feel safe in a place where they call home, and no longer safe to live with the color of their skin.
Gun attacks are so ubiquitous in the United States that many aren’t even reported. For instance, a former graduate of KIS, currently at Berkeley University, told me that three students were shot dead on campus this year, but such a tragedy is so common that it didn’t even make it to the local news.
Just this year, there have already been 297 mass shootings in the US—335 people brutally murdered. How many more lives must be sacrificed until the government finally acts upon the desperate cries of citizens begging for safety? Although it is difficult to fully comprehend the political and legal complications regarding gun regulation laws, we stand here today hoping that the government will be able to work past such obstacles to ensure the safety of their citizens.
How did the largest kleptocracy case in the world play out?
The biggest corruption scandal of the 21st century is finally coming to an end. A single leader of a single country carried out a con game against not just his people but the entire world. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, currently awaiting a final decision by the jury, has been charged for more than 40 crimes including embezzlement of over $4 billion from the state fund. Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power last May in the general election, has openly denounced Najib and immediately barred him from fleeing the country. When the police forces searched Najib’s properties, they seized hundreds and thousands of luxury goods: 234 pairs of sunglasses, 423 watches, 567 handbags and 12,000 items of jewelry as well as 30 million dollars of cash in various currencies. By far, the Malaysia Scandal is “the largest kleptocracy case,” as US Attorney General Loretta Lynch described.
How is a 12 billion-dollar international fraud involving Hollywood celebrities and more than 12 countries worldwide possible?
It all began in 2009 when Najib Razak was elected Prime Minister of Malaysia. One of his first actions was creating the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a government-run investment company which was supposed to promote economic growth and lead Malaysia to become a more developed, sustainable nation. Its announced initiatives included purchasing privately owned power plants and building a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur, which would understandably lead to astronomical costs. In order to raise funds for his “projects,” Najib issued international bonds for state-owned oil and in the process took advantage of connections with the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), Goldman Sachs, and Deloitte to establish trust among the international economic society. As a result, Najib successfully raked in bond sales totaling 6.5 billion dollars. However, instead of reaching towards its initial goals, 1MDB was exploited by Najib and other high-ranking officials.
In the center of the scheme was Jho Low, also known as the “Asian Gatsby.” As the main conductor, Low managed to bribe famous Hollywood celebrities and renowned public figures and utilize them as tools of “word of mouth” to promote his 1MDB business. It seemed that Najib and Low would live in luxury forever. However, the US Department of Justice reported how the pair used the money from 1MDB to buy real estate in the United States, rare artwork, and custom-made jewelry.
Corruption is seldom uncovered when the corrupt are in power. However, at the time of the regime change, the power of the commander-in-chief is weakened, the inner circle of the politician handing the torch off to the new administrative team. With this newfound (minimal) instability, criticism of the Malaysian people against Najib and his party intensified. In the process, Mahathir recognized that he could rise into power once again and resolve this financial crisis.
Regarding the Malaysian case, it is hard not to notice a striking similarity with South Korea’s presidential scandal in 2016: a leader can lead his or her country to not only prosperity but also drive it towards chaos. In order to prevent such political and economic fiascos, it is necessary to establish global and international apparatuses and mechanisms of anticorruption so that the behavior of politicians can be scrutinized and regulated for any foul play.
World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2nd where people all over the world come together to spread awareness of autism.
April 2, the World Autism Awareness Day, is celebrated all over the world to raise awareness of the people with Autism Spectrum disorder throughout the world. This year, the theme is “Assistive Technology and Active Participation.”
This year’s theme keeps in mind the significant role that technology plays in the development of people of all different form of disability, including autism. Technology not only is important to the development of individuals, but it also ensures people with disabilities are guaranteed basic human rights such as the individuals’ freedom and help them participate as a full member of society. This theme acknowledges the fact that assistive technology is expensive and inaccessible to the large population with autism.
Although the term “autism” could be heard frequently, most people are not fully aware of what autism really is. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that affects how people express themselves, communicate with others, and understand the world around them. According to Autism Speaks, this spectrum disorder can vary in degrees and everyone is different.
Autism Awareness Day gives us a chance to have a better understanding of the world around us and our community. Given the fact that about one in fifty-nine children worldwide has autism, it is very likely that you will meet someone with this disorder. Instead of assuming and making stereotypes, we should make the effort to get to know more about them.
One of the clubs in KIS, Light It Up Blue, advocates this cause and seeks to find ways to spread awareness about autism both inside and outside of our school. In order to find more about what we could do to spread awareness and participate in the World Autism Awareness Day, we asked the club officer, Joshua Choi (12), some questions.
Q: Why should we care about autism?
A: We should care about autism because it is a much more common disorder than most people think it is. It is very likely that you will meet or work with someone with autism in the future.
Q: Are there some ways we could do to spread awareness inside our school?
A: Some ways we can spread awareness in our school are to hang posters around the school. However, we think that the best way would be to have a guest speaker come and speak about Autism, which would be more difficult to organize. We can also pass out small fact cards in the morning to frequently remind people about autism.
Q: How should we treat people with autism?
A: We shouldn’t bully people with autism. Since they can be more sensitive to loud noises or bright lights, we should try to view a situation from their perspective and be ready to support them if they do not feel comfortable.
Q: Is your club doing anything for the World Autism Awareness Day? A: Our club made a post on the KIS 2018-2019 facebook group, promoting the website that we made. Be sure to check out the website!
Ignorance can lead to misunderstandings and in order to stop those from happening, it is important for us to care and treat them with equal respect. The first step is to take part in this day and look at the community around you!