Inclusion-is-Magic-Event-LogoThe City of Richardson is hosting Inclusion is Magical Sept. 9-11 at the Eisemann Center. The inaugural event will showcase the art and performances of the autistic community in partnership with Methodist Richardson Medical Center, UT Dallas, the Richardson IQ®, Richardson ISD, Kirin Court, ER Near Me, Cindi’s N.Y. Deli, Canyon Creek Art & Frame and other community groups, bringing awareness to the opportunities and capabilities of those on the autism spectrum. 

Inclusion is Magical will feature activities including the Hacking Autism Hack-a-Thon, a show by magician Kevin Spencer and an art show featuring works by teens and young adults.

“We are very excited to be able to hold Inclusion is Magical at the Eisemann Center,” said Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker. “The event will be part of a three-day celebration that will raise awareness about the abilities of people at varying levels of the autism spectrum through the celebration of art, entertainment that inspires and conversations that inform.”

Hacking Autism Hack-a-Thon
The Richardson IQ® is partnering with Hacking Autism to host a Hack-a-Thon on Thursday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Hack-a-Thon will bring together working professionals including therapists, technology company leaders, HR professionals, people with autism and their families. A trained team will lead participants through a brainstorming process where they will discuss problems facing the autistic community and come up with initiatives that can be acted upon to begin changing the Richardson community. The event will be led by Hacking Autism founder and former Hewlett Packard Chief Technology Officer Phil McKinney.

Hacking Autism is a nonprofit with a mission to fund, create and support opportunities that improve the personal and professional lives of people on the autism spectrum. Technology, therapy, and employment play a key role in their mission, giving those on the spectrum the tools to show their unique talents and abilities in this fast-paced world. Hacking Autism connects individuals with Autism to those with the skills and abilities to help them through hack-a-thons, technology grants, job training and more.

To participate with this one-of-a-kind brainstorming and networking event, please register at www.cor.net/hackathon. Lunch will be provided, along with coffee and snacks throughout the day.

A Place of Peace: Using Art as A Window to the Soul
The Eisemann Center’s Forrest and Virginia Green Mezzanine Gallery will host the A Place of Peace: Using Art as A Window to the Soul from Aug. 31-Sept. 26. The exhibition will be coordinated by Teresa Nicosia Mayo, an artist and art educator at The University of Texas at Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders. Mayo teaches art to young adults on the autism spectrum by using art as an alternative and therapeutic means of expression.

This exhibition features works of art from participants in the Young Adult Social Communication Group at the Callier Center, as well as other local organizations, and emphasizes the use of creativity as a tool to increase self-awareness and communication in those on the autism spectrum.

The Magic of Kevin Spencer: Sensory Inclusive Performance
Internationally renowned illusionist Kevin Spencer will present a new magic and illusion performance designed to be welcoming to children and families with autism or other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. Slight adjustments to the production, where possible, will include reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. The performance will take place Saturday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required and can be reserved via the Eisemann Center website, www.eisemanncenter.com.

In addition to being an award-winning magician, Spencer holds a Certification in Autism Studies and a M.Ed. in Arts and Interdisciplinary Academic Education. He has published research in the Journal of the International Association of Special Education and the Journal of the International Society for Teacher Education on the education benefits of the arts in the classroom. Additionally, a feature article in INSIDE AUTISM magazine referred to Spencer as the kid whisperer because of his keen ability to connect with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Sponsorships Available
National data shows most people with autism are underemployed or unemployed. Eighty-five percent of autistic college graduates are unemployed, compared to the national average of 3.6 percent. There is a whole community of untapped talent and significant contributions that our community is missing out on, which is why the City of Richardson is leading the charge to create ideas and act on them—all in a single week. Sponsorships are still available.

For more information, contact Roni Carrasco at roni.carrasco@cor.gov or 972-744-4613, or Sarah Wagner at sarah.wagner@cor.gov or 972-744-4612.