Oh SNAP! January Edition

SNAP during the winter, research updates, and new surveys

In this month’s newsletter, we will discuss the events hosted by the SNAP Club during the winter season. We will also provide updates on our progress in SNAP research, including the development of new surveys to support neurodiverse families and an AI-based app. Happy New Year!

Upcoming Events:

  • Community Mural
  • Fundraiser Run
  • Chipotle Fundraiser

The Community Mural

We are excited to announce an upcoming event in Benedum Hall where we will be collaborating with the Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media to create a neurodiversity mural. The mural will be directed by Artist Alison Zapata and will be on display in Benedum Hall, with the names of all contributors included. We are looking for a total of 16 participants, with 8 painting on Saturdays and 8 on Sundays, with an equal representation from SNAP Club and partnering organizations. The painting schedule is as follows:

  • January 21st: General Meeting for Everyone (10 am - 12 pm)
  • January 28th and February 4th: Group A (10 am - 12 pm)
  • January 29th and February 5th: Group B (10 am - 12 pm)
  • Unveiling Ceremony (TBD, mid-late February)

SNAP Club will provide all necessary materials, food, and accommodations. If you have any questions or are interested in participating, please contact Zachary Miller at zachamiller@pitt.edu or fill out the sign-up form (https://forms.gle/YQmEhVDyeQANkWtM7). We look forward to creating a masterpiece together!

The Fundraiser Run

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a charity run in Schenley Park to raise funds for our community events and for charities that support neurodiverse families in need. The run will take place on Sunday, March 26th, 2023 and all proceeds will go towards these causes. More details will be shared soon.

SNAP Volunteering takes off

SNAP Volunteering partners with UPMC’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) to provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities at UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Shadyside hospitals. We collaborate with the DRC to meet patients’ physical, communicative, and emotional needs, with the goal of improving their hospital experience. We plan to expand to other hospitals in the future. Recently, we have started training volunteers and developing tools to assist patients. So far, we have helped over 100 patients and hope to assist many more. If you’re interested in volunteering, please fill out the form at https://forms.gle/uiNhPs8zqUA4Up2y5. We hope to expand the program to other hospitals, including UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, UPMC Magee, and UPMC Mercy.

Developments in Research

SNAP Research is conducting an Autism Family survey to gain a deeper understanding of the community’s needs and preferences for communication aid tools. The focus of the survey is to address the double empathy problem by developing a comprehensive communication system that incorporates all aspects of speech pragmatics. We are currently in the research and development phase, where we are carefully crafting the survey questions and format to ensure that we gather the most meaningful and relevant data. Our goal is to release the survey within the next year, so we can begin working on creating the communication tool. The survey will help us identify the key challenges that families with autism face when it comes to communication, and it will inform the design of the communication tool so that it addresses those challenges effectively. The survey will also gather information on the current communication aids that families are using, their effectiveness, and areas that need improvement. By gathering this information, we hope to create a communication tool that is tailored to help improve communication bidirectionally.

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