SUNY Canton Hosts Autism Ambassador Aaron Likens, Feb 18


SUNY Canton will be hosting nationally-recognized “autism ambassador” Aaron Likens for a day of awareness-raising presentations.

Likens was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 20 years old, and has since authored “Finding Kansas,” a book about living and finding peace with this form of autism. Likens will hold three presentations, all free and open to the public on February 18:

  • A noon session
  • A 3 p.m. session
  • A 6 p.m. session

All events will be in the SUNY Canton Richard W. Miller Campus Center’s Kingston Theater. 

Aaron Likens

There has been a growing demand in all sectors of society to learn more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Likens has become one of the most preeminent speakers on the issue and its impact on education, law enforcement, employment and medical care. He emphasizes the need to find ways to “celebrate, not separate” those with autism or other disabilities.

“When we received word of Aaron’s work and the impact of his presentations on audiences, we immediately reached out to see about bringing him to SUNY Canton,” said University Police Chief Alan P. Mulkin. “While it’s crucial for police officers to understand how autistic individuals behave or react, I believe he can teach everyone more about spectrum disorders.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 59 American schoolchildren is on the autism spectrum. Almost half of children identified with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability. Autistic adults make up a large and extremely diverse minority population. 

One of the common problems for autistic people is sensory overload, according to Liken. “We in the spectrum pick up every sound, every smell, confusing lights,” he said in a previous presentation. “We don’t have the ability to filter that stuff out.”

Likens presentations are cosponsored by the St. Lawrence County-David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy and the SUNY Canton Student Affairs Division.

Some of Aaron's Easterseals blog posts:

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.