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EMCC Student Helps Spread Autism Awareness

Isaac Berlyn Processing Delay Challenge Virtual Event Image

Isaac Berlyn hosts podcast for Sounds of Autism, launches social media video challenge for April

When a fellow Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) classmate reached out to Isaac Berlyn last year and asked if he wanted to participate in the Community Innovation Summit, his first thought was, “Well I’m not doing anything else, so I might as well.” Ask him about it today and he’ll tell you, “Turns out that decision to participate has greatly affected my life since.”

The annual summit brings together students and local businesses and nonprofits in a “Shark Tank”-like setting where students are tasked with solving a problem. Isaac, who is majoring in psychology and will graduate from EMCC this May, and his group were paired with Sounds of Autism, a nonprofit organization based in Goodyear, which was looking for a way to continue spreading awareness of autism in the age of a pandemic.

“The idea that my group came up with was to create a social media challenge video, akin to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in the hopes to spread autism awareness,” Isaac said.

Isaac’s group won first place, earning each of them a $500 scholarship, and Isaac an internship to work with Sounds of Autism.

“Sounds of Autism reached out afterward to see if I would make my idea a reality,” Isaac said. “So, I did.”

But he did more than that.

“The main goal was to produce the challenge video; however, I now produce and host a podcast called ‘Notes on the Spectrum,’” he said. “I have the privilege to interview incredible people and have the opportunity to learn and share what I learn with others in a digital format.”

Isaac’s hope is that his podcast viewers will learn right alongside him about autism.

“Going into this, I was very ignorant,” he said. “And my goal from the beginning was to learn and expand my awareness to become more passionate about a cause I had little knowledge of.”

For April, Autism Awareness Month, Isaac created a Processing Delay Challenge. The challenge is to record yourself writing the sentence “I am a responder of autism” with your non-dominant hand, posting your video to social media with the hashtags #PDC, #AutismAwareness, #ResponderOfAutism, and #SoundsOfAutism, and then challenging two friends to do the same. The challenge shows people what a processing delay feels like for those with autism or any disability that causes one’s brain to delay in responding.

“It’s supposed to give a neuro-typical person a small glimpse of what a processing delay is like,” Isaac said. “The larger hope is to remove the negative stigma associated with having autism, getting people to talk about it, and spread knowledge and awareness that resources are available to families or individuals at any stage in life.

“Sharing the video may seem like a simple thing, but with the nearly incomparable web that social media provides, it has the potential to connect an individual with an organization such as Sounds of Autism and greatly increase the quality of life for all involved.”

To learn more about the Processing Delay Challenge, go to

To learn more about Sounds of Autism, visit

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