(Posted March 29, 2024)

HUNTINGDON, Pa.—In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, Juniata College’s Office of Student Accessibility Services will host a screening of “How to Dance in Ohio,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in the living room area of Statton Learning Commons.   

This event is free and open to the public.  

“‘How to Dance in Ohio’ not only highlights the challenges faced by individuals with autism, but it also creates an inclusive space where they can carry their narratives,” said Joann Noel, director of Student Accessibility Services at Juniata College. “This screening is part of a weeklong campaign of acceptance, awareness, and celebration of the autistic community across campus. Our students, community, and the Disabled Student Union club have been incredible partners in helping us plan this kickoff event for Autism Acceptance Month.” 

“How to Dance in Ohio” is a 2015 documentary film that follows a group of young adults with autism living in Columbus, Ohio, as they prepare for their first spring formal. Their guidance counselor, Emilio Amigo, supports them as they practice social skills in preparation for the dance.  

Following the film’s premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, reviewers lauded the accentuation of the positive and avoidance of stereotypes as the documentarians follow the journey of the group.  

The documentary's success inspired a new Broadway musical with the same name, made noteworthy by a commitment to casting actors with autism in the roles of characters with autism. 

Juniata is committed to championing disability and neurodivergence as natural parts of the diverse human experience, providing reasonable accommodations on an individualized and flexible basis, partnering with faculty and staff to serve students, and fostering self-advocacy. Students can connect with Student Accessibility Services to self-identify as a neurodivergent student or student with a disability, to learn more about the support the office can provide, and/or to request accommodations or services.  

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.