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 full transparency as we support our local community, fellow agencies and partners to provide resources, support and information for those in need.
Our vision continues to promote that of a not-for-profit organization. We are here to provide opportunities to individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (ASD)
It is our greatest hope to allow everyone living with ASD 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 quickly 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 was 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 flourished 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 network to serve our community and help each other.
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.