The United Nations named April 2nd Worldwide Autism Awareness Day in 2009 with the intention of bringing more attention to the developmental disorder on a global scale. In Meticulon’s first operational year, we were fortunate enough to participate in the April 2nd celebrations in both Calgary and Ottawa. We look forward to spreading awareness and acceptance throughout the year!
This was the first year that the Calgary Autism Community planned an event for World Autism Awareness day, and it was a huge success! The theme was bubbles and tie dye, based on a comment from a member of the community who noted that all Tie Dye shirts were different just as every person with autism is different! The day was intended to celebrate the community and draw awareness in a positive nature, and it certainly accomplished that. The weather was on our side as we danced to a hip hop group in Olympic Plaza, creating a wave of curiosity through the lunching business folks downtown.
We also unofficially attempted to break the Guinness world record for most people blowing bubbles together at one time. The bubbles were wildly appealing to the younger kids who made it down, and turned the adults into their inner child as well. Next year, with more time to plan, the community will officially tackle the world record.
A different tone than the Ottawa WAAD, but so exciting to be a part of awareness and acceptance within the community. World Autism Awareness Day is intended to be a vehicle for change, bringing awareness about autism to those who have not experienced it. I hope, that with year round awareness, we are able to foster acceptance within society. We are one step closer!
Meticulon Job Coach
Autism on the Hill
One of Meticulon’s consultants, Mackenzie, and I were given the honour of attending World Autism Awareness Day in Ottawa. What an amazing experience! The events were very well organized and attended. Introductory speeches were given on the steps of the Parliament Hill, including a heartfelt message from the Honourable Mike Lake accompanied by his son, Jaden, who has autism. About 150 people listened and cheered as the speakers expressed the importance of funding for additional ASD research and the goal of providing more support for children and adults on the spectrum and their families.
Following the rally, a group of us were taken on a tour and then escorted to the House of Commons chamber, where the MPs debated their opinions while their party members applauded and encouraged their viewpoints. The two opposing sides of the chamber rose in unison to give MP Mike Lake a standing ovation when he expressed his mission of creating more awareness to the needs of those with ASD.
Our group was then invited to a reception which was attended by members of Parliament along with people with ASD and ASD advocates. The coming together of these groups provided the opportunity for advocates and persons with ASD to be heard, connections to be made and potential future plans to be presented. The evening concluded with a dinner sponsored by the generosity of The Sinneave Family Foundation. It was highlighted with insightful conversations from a collaborative and supportive group of ASD advocates from across Canada. As Mackenzie and I walked back to the hotel, we were greeted by the glow of Autism blue shining from the tower at Parliament Hill. The end to a perfect day.
Meticulon Chief Employment Coach
The conference held in Ottawa over the course of two days was aimed at increasing autism awareness at the federal level. It proved to be a significant learning experience in terms of my understanding of politics and the importance of building a community genuinely interested in building autonomy for those on the autism spectrum. The resounding support I felt from those I had time to talk to has given me a new confidence in the community in making a significant change in the political landscape, from those with ASD, their families, the MPs, and businesses.
What struck me the most is how similar the federal government is to the local communities that they are involved in, and how emotionally invested our MPs are towards the current issues that communities in Canada face. When the Honourable MP Mike Lake used his minute in the question period in the House of Commons to call for attention towards those with autism (click here to see his speech), I saw the father advocating for his son most of all. When the entire house stood and applauded, I saw a community that agreed in unison that new policies need to be introduced to adapt to and change our school systems and workplaces. In both the casual and formal environments, I learned some of the ideas and plans of government funded organizations and companies to improve the quality of living for those with ASD, and I look forward to seeing the change their plans will incur.