April 12, 2016

Being a Mom With Autism

Dena Gassner has autism spectrum disorder. She is also a mother of two and pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work at Adelphi.

On April 2, 2016—World Autism Day—she spoke at Adelphi University about her experience as a parent with autism, as part of the annual Issues in Independent Living for Adolescents and Adults on the Autism Spectrum conference hosted by the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education in partnership with the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association (AHA).

Huffpost Rise, the daily video news update from The Huffington Post, also recently featured her story. Gassner spoke candidly with host Cat Greenleaf about misconceptions about adults and parents with autism spectrum disorder and how her diagnosis has transformed her life.

“The diagnosis gave me a framework of identity. It doesn’t define me,” Gassner said. “It explains me, somewhat to other people, but more so to myself.”

Gassner was moved to tears in describing what the diagnosis has meant for her relationship with her daughter.

“We’ve had this healing that I can’t even describe. It’s been wonderful,” Gassner said.

» Catch the full interview on Huffpost Rise.


Want to read more stories like this?


From My Desk: News From the President   Browse by Topic

About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

For further information, please contact:

Taylor Damian
Associate Director for Media Relations 
p – 516.877.4040
e –