A volunteer, not-for-profit organization providing awareness and advocating for those living on the autism spectrum.
Author: Lennox & Addington County Autism Network
My name is Mandy Stapley, I reside in Napanee, Ontario. I am a mother and an advocate. Allow me to tell you why I started this community.
My passion is my child.
He has autism, severe autism.
He has been labelled non-verbal.
There are many labels.
But, I like his name best: Hank.
A few years ago, I met some amazing people.
The Blais, Piontek and Ross families.
They befriended me during a time I really needed someone, anyone to understand what I was going through as a parent of a extrodinary needs child.
These friendships grew into something greater than I couldn't have imagined.
It grew into a grassroots organization: The Lennox & Addington County Autism Network.
We began networking to build support, acceptance and awareness among ourselves as well as in our community.
Changes to the (OAP) Ontario Autism Program were (and still) are uncertain.
We wanted to begin something positive, while supporting people in our community.
The Lennox & Addington County Autism Network is a nonprofit organization providing opportunities to individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), family/caregiver support, allowing everyone to achieve their fullest potential.
There was a nice turnout to witness the installation of Pallet’able Art by the Town of Greater Napanee.
This project was a collaboration with Community Living Lennox & Addington aimed to raise awareness of disability inclusion within our community. “Inspiring Possibilities” was sponsored and commissioned by CLLA, staff and clients.
Autism Network LAC – LACAN commissioned the talented Barbara Andrea Grawberger to bring “Inclusion” to fruition.
It was an honour to have Tim Nimigan’s knowledge and experience with the Celebrating Arts and Culture of Napanee, to honour this piece.
Visit the Town of Greater Napanee to see more Pallet’able Art and the artists description of this amazing piece.
Lee Cowling has graciously joined our efforts to spread awareness of inclusion in her field of work and our communities.
She lives in Harrowsmith, which is an area we cover in Lennox & Addington County.
Lee is an experienced professional in the healthcare community. Some might even call her an expert in critical care, which is a specialized area of nursing.
Lee has travelled to the United States on a special work visa, spending two years of her career in a trauma hospital located in St. Petersburg, FL.
More recently, Lee held an important role with Trillium (Organ Donation Donor Team) where she experienced grief, tragedy and loss regularly.
She has provided compassion and kindness to many families during the challenging journey of organ donation.
We have no doubt Lee is perfect for a seat on our board to assist us to fulfill our vision of advocating for acceptance and inclusion in our community.
Autism Network LAC is honoured to have Lee’s skill-set, healthcare perspective and integrity on the board.
Please join us in welcoming Lee.
Lee Cowling BIO:
Hello! My name is Lee, I’ve been selected for a position, on the board of directors with Autism Network LAC – LACAN as a healthcare professional.
I have been in the healthcare field for the past 20 years. During this time I have seen diversity and with that the knowledge of how important educating our community of different challenges many families face daily. How to be an inclusive; family member, friend, co-worker or neighbour.
Someone close to me lives on the autism spectrum and has given me many reasons to be passionate about advocating for acceptance and inclusion.
I’m looking forward to bringing a voice as a healthcare professional to encourage inclusion now and for our future generations!
‘Red: A Crayon’s Story‘ – allegory for invisible, undiagnosed disability and identity dissonance. It works for LGBQTI+ youth, but as a young autistic girl growing up undiagnosed and confused, this story hits me in the gut.
Masking for Social Acceptance
A Bad Case Of Stripes – Autistic folks, particularly multiply-marginalized autistics (women, BIPOC, poor, etc.) who don’t have access to support and accommodations, are often forced to mask our pain and natural behavior to fit in and pass as allistic. This leads to all sorts of mental health conditions (see below regarding exposure anxiety) and chronic trauma. We get extremely sick, and instead of encouraging us to relax and drop the mask, often we’re pressured to hide the effects of this stress, too.
Sophie’s Squash – (Miller) In both of these books, Sophie demonstrates challenges interacting with her peers, so she prefers the comfort and safety of befriending Bernice the Squash, who doesn’t come with the baggage of confusing allistic expectations. In Sophie’s Squash Go To School, Q loved that bernice’s babies turned into 2, was preocuppied by the concept of exponential growth more than the story itself. went a little over hte head of R2 at 4. But it shows how Sophie misses a classmate’s social cues and misconstrues an attempt at friendship as aggression. Not really about back to school, but takes place on the first month or so of school. i didn’t get a lack of consent vibe from the boy’s attempts at friendship, but i can see how folks might see that as problematic. Additional keywords: Making friends, harassment
View complete Board of Director list by clicking above link. 👆🏻
Please join us in welcoming our newest member to the LACAN board of directors. LACAN is a full volunteer board aimed to assist our community and promote inclusion for everyone.
Hi everyone, my name is Lindsay I’ve accepted a position on the LACAN diverse board of directors.
My son is neurotypical, his name is Archer. We love our boxer named Lyric. Our family has friends of all different abilities and backgrounds. I am dedicated to being an inclusive family as well as a supportive source for our neurodivergent friends.
The decision to accept this diversity position on the LACAN board is an honour. I am delighted to assist in spreading awareness surrounding social inclusion, to teach our children to be good advocates as well as good friends!
Inclusion starts young, it’s learned – we can all be good teachers. Let’s help our youth understand that it’s ok to be different!
View complete Board of Director list by clicking above link. 👆🏻
Ashley is a self-advocate and identifies as neurodiverse. LACAN is thrilled to have her voice on the board of directors.
Ashley gained a great amount of inspiration while being an older sibling to Avery who is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
When growing up, Ashley sensed she was different from her peers, always seeking a real connection and not really sure how to make it happen on her own. She suffered in silence for many years, not understanding what others were laughing and joking about, which was usually aimed towards her and being bullied most of her academic life.
Ashley enjoys artistic work as well as technology. These activities/work help her to reduce the stress and anxiety of social sensory input throughout her day.
After falling through the cracks of a system not built for her, Ashley hopes to continue her education and learning about disability studies and be an advocate for change.
We have been working behind the scenes this winter to make sure our community knows how much we support autism awareness and acceptance. We might not have been able to be together in person, but that doesn’t mean we stop thinking of ways to support you from a distance. Spring is here and we couldn’t be more excited to get outside and with hopes, see some of you soon!
Below is a list of the exciting things we’ve been up to over the past few months.
Autism Network LAC provided tablets to assist students with communication barriers
Autism Network LAC presented and donated local schools in the Limestone District School Board with 14 Samsung Galaxy Tab A devices. These devices promote communication for those in the school to community classrooms. This opportunity was made possible by a contest opportunity through Autism Speaks Canada and Samsung. Autism Network LAC was proud to have been awarded these devices for our community schools.
Autism Network LAC and Community Living L&A donated Autism Sensory Support Kits to local organizations
Autism Network LAC and Community Living L&A provided 30 Autism Canada Sensory Support Kits to organizations within the Lennox & Addington County. The recipients of these kits are: Provincial Police (O.P.P.), Greater Napanee Emergency Services (GNES), L&A Emergency Services, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children (LARC), Limestone District School Board (LDSB), Community Living L&A (CLLA), L&A library and L&A Hospital triage department.
These above-mentioned agencies welcomed sensory support kits along with valuable information as an additional tool to support a variety of situations.
This project would not have been possible without the support of our partner Community Living Lennox & Addington as well as our sponsors, Jamie & Jaclyn’s No Frills and L&A Mutual Insurance Co. and Community Living L&A.
Autism Awareness and partnerships with local makers
Autism Network LAC teamed up with local makers and businesses to promote awareness initiatives during World Autism Awareness Day April 2, 2021. Through partnering with local makers, we hope to expand community knowledge of autism while supporting local.
To date, we’ve been fortunate enough to team up with Wanderbird. This hard working entrepreneur used her creative energy to present us with the perfect spring Neurodiversity bracelet. Delicate, fresh and supportive! Thank you Wanderbird!
Wanderbird has generously offered to donate $5 from every bracelet sold to support LACAN’s awareness and program initiatives.
GelMoment Autism Awareness Party with Autism Network LAC
GelMoment Autism Awareness Party with Autism Network LAC on Facebook, join our party for your chance to win free giveaways. This party allows for our community to support our awareness campaign as well as a local community member running an independent business.
LEGO Builders Club – Social Group for teens, young adults and LEGO enthusiasts
Autism Network LAC is currently seeking volunteers to participate in a rewarding LEGO Building Program(s). This group will aim to run between 4-6 weeks with a commitment of 1 hour per week.
Volunteers will be responsible for providing mentoring, peer-modelling, assisting with engineering LEGO projects.
Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact Autism Network LAC by email: email@example.com.
World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2021
Communities around the world will come together on April 2nd to recognize autistic individuals and those who love and support them.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that has been steadily been gaining more understanding globally. This important day of recognition aims to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults on the autism spectrum. World Autism Awareness Day is a day to celebrate the talents of autistic individuals, while focussing on embracing and welcoming these diverse skills everyday.
Fourteenth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2021. Communities around the world come together on April 2nd to recognize autistic individuals and those who love and support them.
World Autism Awareness Day spotlights hurdles autistic individuals and others living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face daily. As a growing global healthdisorder it’s increasingly gaining more exposure in the press.
ASD is a neurological disorder that has been steadily been gaining more understanding globally. This important day of recognition aims to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults on theautism spectrum. World Autism Awareness Day is a day to celebrate the talents of autistic individuals, while focussing on embracing and welcoming these diverse skills everyday.
Please share this short animated video to educate those you around you to understand some of the differences people face all around us everyday.
AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN –Alexander Amelines. (Autism explanation animated 4 minutes)
Sesame Street – Meet Julia. She is autistic. (Younger explanation 10 minutes)
Autism Network LAC would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to learn more about autism and by doing this it will hopefully create a more inclusive world for those we love and care about.
Autism Network LAC in partnership with Community Living Lennox and Addington helped to provide local Emergency Services Autism Canada Sensory Support Kits to aid in assisting those through challenging traumatic experiences with a few more tools under their belts.
Without the support of the following sponsors this project would not have been possible: