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THOUGHTS | from page 2 personality traits and biology have an impact on attitudes toward different situations, which come to be beliefs. By failing to recognize that beliefs directly influence thoughts, they are typically not reviewed or critiqued because they are perceived to have no consequence. It is true that for every outside effect, there is an inner cause, or origin from which it is created. If individuals place more belief in good, positive aspects of life, it will automatically lead to better thoughts without contemplation known as automatic thoughts. Automatic thoughts are involuntarily generated, meaning they are not subject to inquiry or logical examination, and are typically called to mind when a particular situation occurs. Oftentimes, a person will feel a certain emotion without understanding why. This is because the process behind that particular emotion is not thought out. In such cases, a person must take the time to figure out what is at the root of their feelings rather than standing idly by as negative takes over. “Automatic thoughts are usually directly related to a specific belief we have about something and can be helpful or unhelpful. What helps is

recognizing unhelpful thoughts,” explained Tillman. After drawing the correlation between beliefs and thoughts, thoughts were linked to emotion and action. Tillman called this the “thought-feeling connection” and revealed the profound affect thoughts have on a multitude of aspects inside everyday life. For example, if a person thinks, “I’m no good at test taking,” before taking an exam, odds of them performing well are lessened. Or, if a person spots a spider and thinks, “spiders are dangerous,” they will be inclined to act frantically instead of thinking rationally and handling the situation with logical reasoning. Placing confidence in oneself and believing that the best case scenario will occur makes situations advance smoothly and become less troublesome. Acknowledging that thoughts have the ability to influence behavior is the first step toward a more positive lifestyle. After a person increases awareness of automatic thoughts, they are inclined to think in a more optimistic light which will ultimately, heighten their value of life. Ashley Meitz can be contacted at news@

Spreading knowledge By Ashley Meitz News Editor April marks Autism Awareness month, 30 days dedicated to unique fundraising events, specifically those aimed at raising awareness. At Moraine Valley, The Alliance of Latin American Students (ALAS) and Center for Disability Services presented the college’s first autism awareness panel on April 23, making it their mission to spread the word about autism and promote a sense of togetherness throughout not only the campus, but the community. Speakers at the panel included Laura Pedro and Deborah Malkinson, mothers with autistic children, Jody Gaunt, a grandfather involved in an organization called Autism Speaks and a parent, Agatha DeFranco, Autism Speaks Board Member and Moraine Valley student Jordan White, effected by autism himself. The various points of view provided a wide range of perspectives surrounding the disorder. Autism Speaks is an organization that launched in February 2005 and since, has grown into “the world’s leading autism science and advocacy

organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Aside from those on the panel, community members were encouraged to attend and participate. Students, faculty and counselors were among some of the audience members. “This was our first panel discussion for autism awareness. I think it definitely raised a lot of awareness. A lot of the attendees didn’t know what autism was or they thought it was something you could tell by looking at someone. It [the panel discussion] gave people an idea of not only what parents with children who have autism go through, but what the individuals themselves go through,” explained Rebecca Ramirez, ALAS Advisor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. With such a large scale of people affected by the disorAUTISM | page 5

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