The Lennox & Addington County Autism Network is a volunteer, parent-led support group for all individuals and their loved ones with exceptionalities.
Our mission is to provide support to our local community, fellow agencies and partner to provide resources, support and information for those who need it most.
Our vision as a not-for-profit organization, is to provide opportunities to individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We strive to provide every person living on the spectrum to have an equal opportunity to achieve their fullest potential in life.
Mandy Stapley – Founder
My name is Mandy Stapley, I reside in the Town of Greater Napanee. I am a single mother to my son, Hank, who lives with severe autism (non-verbal) or otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Hank’s birth was “normal,” full-term no complications and considered natural.
I sought a referral to a Paediatric doctor when Hank was nearing 18-months old. I had a strong feeling he wasn’t meeting typical milestones for children of his age.
It has been a long and difficult journey, that left me feeling like I was navigating blindly. I felt helpless, scared, alone, defeated and like a failure as a mother.
I found myself reaching for any and all information about autism I could get my hands on. I had to put trust into the professionals in their field and I began to trust my “gut” feelings when it came to mothering a non-verbal child.
Hank required tubes at 24-months, after an Audiologist specialist determined Hank was hearing impaired.
Hank received surgery for tubes, and was diagnosed with ASD shortly thereafter.
Hank began an intense behavioural intervention (IBI) program with the Maltby Centre located in Kingston, Ontario at the age of 5 years old. Hank, like many children, waited on a list for nearly 3 years for this therapy.
During Hank’s treatment, he began using Picture Exchange Communication (PECs) as a form of communication. Hank’s communication increased and he upgraded to an iPad with a Proloquo2go app, known as an augmentative communication device.
It was during this time, I began to reach out to my community to connect with like parents with unique yet similar situations.
This lead to the creation of a grass-roots network to serve our community and help each other through challenging times of uncertainly.
Thank you for your support and kind messages! Together we can make a difference in our community, province and with hopes, our nation.
Jocelyn Vilneff – Associate Member
Jocelyn gained great inspiration while being a dance teacher. When working with children, she sensed a greater need for there to be inclusion of children living with barriers.
She then worked at Kool Kamp held at Children and Family Services in Napanee, where she was inspired by each and every child she worked with.
This lead her to become a respite worker with Children’s Aid Services, as well as in personal homes. With every child, comes new needs, but she strongly believes in fostering a supportive environment, with positivity, a child will flourish.
Jocelyn is entering her 4th, and final year of her bachelor of fine arts in dance (honours degree) with a concentration in dance education at York University.
She has also earned her certification in crisis prevention and intervention.
After seeing children fall victim of the injustices of our systems, she hopes to further her education with a master’s degree in disability studies and be an advocate for change.
Sarah Fisher – Director/ Associate Member
My name is Sarah Fisher, I reside in the Town of Greater Napanee. My son is 15 years old and he lives on the autism spectrum.
Our journey has been adventurous in getting to where we are today. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you, and the network to help advocate for positive change in our community.
We were given an opportunity to work with Queen’s Psychology Clinic, who are remarkable in advocating for kiddos on the spectrum. The continous gratitude we feel has no words.
For 15 years I have worked with the vulnerable persons population. My career blends well with our personal values and ethics. Not only as a family, as an individual.
Today I am pleased to announce my partnership with LACAN as we advocate in commitment to educate the community about autism and those on the spectrum.
Looking forward to joining our community in neurodiversity.