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Taishoff Center Lecture Series inaugural speaker Prince to discuss her experiences with autism spectrum

March 30, 2010

Sapna Kollali
(315) 443-4751

The Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education and the Syracuse University School of Education will welcome Dawn Prince to give the inaugural lecture of the Taishoff Center Lecture Series on Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. in Watson Theater. Prince will discuss her schooling and career experiences as a woman on the autism spectrum. This event is free and open to the public. CART/captioning and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

Prince’s presentation represents the mission of the Taishoff Lecture Series to spotlight significant improvements to higher education for students with disabilities, especially intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Prince grew up at a time when little was known about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Her condition remained undiagnosed as she struggled through school. She dropped out of high school and lived on the streets for five years before finding employment at a local zoo. There, Prince worked with a population of silverback gorillas and found inspiration in observing their behavior. After 12 years of working with and learning from the gorillas, she returned to school and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology.

Prince is now an author and lecturer who travels the world speaking about autism and ecology. Her books include “Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism” (Harmony, 2004) and “Gorillas Among Us: A Primate Ethnographer’s Book of Days” (University of Arizona Press, 2001). She also edited “Aquamarine Blue 5” (Swallow Press, 2002), an anthology of writing by college students on the Autism spectrum. She recently gave up her professorship at Western Washington University to write full time. She lives in Bellingham, Wash., with her partner, Melinda Prince, and their son, Teryk.

“As a tireless advocate and ally for students and faculty on the autism spectrum, Dawn Prince’s untraditional academic path as a student and professor demonstrates the power of a more inclusive, universally designed system of higher education for students with disabilities,” says Taishoff Center Executive Director Wendy Harbour. “This is exactly what the Taishoff Center is working to achieve on a broad scale.”

The talk is sponsored by the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, the SU School of Education and the SU Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies. To request other disability accommodations or for more information, contact Harbour at or visit the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education in Room 159 of Huntington Hall.

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