Bill Sackter Day activities focus on autism spectrum April 13
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The University of Iowa School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will celebrate the life and legacy of Bill Sackter on Friday, April 13, what would have been his 99th birthday.
Sackter served coffee at Wild Bill’s Coffeeshop in the School of Social Work from 1975 until his death in 1983. He was institutionalized for 44 years for scoring too low on an IQ test as a child, but made his way to Iowa City after his friend Barry Morrow was hired to work at the School of Social Work by then director, Tom Walz.
The focus of the celebration this year is on autism spectrum disorders.
The film Wretches and Jabberers will be shown at 5:30 p.m. in W10 Pappajohn Business Building and will be followed by a discussion led by a panel of disability activists.
Wretches and Jabberers is a documentary about two men with autism who travel the world to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. Advances in neuroscience, technology, and early intervention have enabled many nonverbal people with autism to learn how to communicate and share their insights into the disorder. The film focuses on how attitudes and culture create handicaps for people with impairments.
The panel will include Stephen Kuusisto, a UI Writers' Workshop graduate and director of the Renee Crown University Honors Program and professor of disability studies at Syracuse University. He is the author of the memoirs Planet of the Blind and Eavesdropping as well as a collection of poems titled Only Bread, Only Light.
Also on the panel is Ralph Savarese, associate professor of English at Grinnell College and the author of Reasonable People-A Memoir of Autism and Adoption, which Newsweek called a “real life love story and a passionate manifesto for the rights of people with neurological disabilities.” An ardent proponent of neurodiversity, Savarese can be seen in the recent, award-winning documentary, Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic.
Ron Wright, a support group leader for people with Asperger’s, will also speak.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information or special accommodations to attend, contact Jefri Palermo at 319-335-3750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.