Neurodiversity

Autism is Beautifully challenging.

Tonight our walk was beautiful, but not without its challenges.

The leaves on the trees were changing colour and dropping to the ground. There is so much beauty in seeing the change in this season and watching the earth prepare for winter.

Spring Side Park, Napanee, Ontario

As Hank and I walked along the path, I could hear the all too familiar sounds of fall. Leaves crunching under my feet, grass being mowed, water rushing down the river and fishermen chatting over salmon running up river.

These sounds so familiar and soothing to some are harsh and new to some. Hank, immediately grabbed for his ears and I knew in that instant ‘mom forgot the headphones’.

The cycle begins, Hank starts stimming to drown-out the busy unfamiliar noises. Humming and whistling familiar Thomas track sounds from YouTube videos that seem to bring him comfort in times of stress.

I instantly felt like a failure, ‘how could you forget the headphones’. We had to try, so we pressed on.

Hank began to enjoy the sensory-seeking feel of walking backwards down the path.

Most passers-by were friendly and warm. One gentleman did a “boo-scare-tactic” that had little to no effect on Mr. Hank. He continued walking backward as if no one said a word. I couldn’t help but chuckle, the man was so proud of his “boo” sound and action.

As soon a Hank wandered onto the boardwalk section, I could feel my heart pound a little faster and there it was – HELLO ANXIETY old friend.

You see, Hank LOVES water.

He is drawn to it.
He craves its sensory.

Only problem, Hank can’t swim.

Hank is often unpredictable around water.

He is fast.

He doesn’t understand reasoning.

‘If you go in the water, you will be all wet and cold’

‘The water is deep, and Hank can’t swim’

Hank has always had a habit of splashing/sitting in EVERY puddle. The where, when or why doesn’t really matter.

We took the boardwalk slow, lots of prompting and first/then coaching moments. Unfortunately there was some blocking of behaviours along the way, thankfully they didn’t last long and were easily redirected.

Not all stories are perfect stories, we have hard times.

I struggle with sharing these hard times, the down right heart wrenching times. It vulnerable, but also not fair to Hank.

To all the exceptional families out there. I see you. 💙

Today was mostly a good day and I’m so thankful for that.

Small progress is still progress.

♾💙♾

October Autism Awareness Month - Feature.

Autism Awareness Month October 2020 – Feature Friday.

Alexandria, Age 11

Changing the Face of Autism in our community.

My name is Alexandria but sometimes my friends and family call me Alex. Living with ASD brings different challenges forward everyday, I see it as a good thing because it makes me smarter. I think differently than others, and this gives me a different perspective and that’s what makes me unique.

I love spending time with my friends and family! Sometimes you might see me jump and rub my hands together. It’s ok, this is a way for me to feel calm and some call it stimming.

Luna is my pet cat, she is a great friend to me because she head hugs me. I like it when she does this, it’s calming because sometimes the days stresses can be overwhelming.

Cleo is my other cat, she has a cute meow that makes it feel like she’s talking to me. That’s just one of the reasons I love my kitties. I spend a lot of my free time with them, as well as playing with my silicone babies!

Alexandria – Age 11

Special mention goes out to Becky Hinch Photography, for making these portraits possible. By contributing her time and talent in such an amazing way this campaign allowed us to raise awareness of ASD in a beautiful way. Thank you for making our community a better place!

If you want to see more of her great work, check out the Facebook link attached below.

https://www.facebook.com/beckyhinchphotography/

October Autism Awareness Month - Feature.

Feature Friday support Autism Awareness October 2020.

Changing the Face of Autism in our community.

Hank – 7 years old.

My name is Hank and I live in Napanee. I am 7 years old and in Grade 2.

I live with autism, but autism is not who I am. I am playful, energetic, silly as well as empathetic.

Some of my favourite things are: to watch videos of movie credits while I dance, building different train-tracks to add to my collection, and use the slide at the park.

I have a pet named Jimmy, he’s a tabby cat. I enjoy playing with Jimmy, but I don’t like him to touch me or meow loudly. Jimmy knows when I prefer not to play because I stim and he sits close to me without touching me. I like when he does that.

I would want my friends to know I enjoy being around them and like being given the opportunity to join in when I can. Sometimes it may seem like I’m not paying attention to you but I promise I am listening. I enjoy being included in games like: chase, tickle and catch.

One thing I would like people to know about me is, I stim to quiet the many overwhelming noises and thoughts in my head. This makes me feel better and allows me to concentrate on tasks that I need to do. It can sound like high-pitch train whistles, or I can be found jumping or pacing.

I enjoy being back at school around my peers. It’s going to be some time before I get used to all the new changes that are happening around me. Please know, I’m very excited to be there and trying my very best.

Hank

Special mention goes to Becky Hinch Photography, for making these portraits possible. By contributing her time and talent in such an amazing way this campaign allowed us to raise awareness of ASD in a beautiful way. Thank you for making our community a better place!

If you want to see more of her great work, check out the Facebook link attached below.

https://www.facebook.com/beckyhinchphotography/

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Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Month – October

Dear Friends of the Network,

2nd Annual Light It Up Blue Campaign

Lennox & Addington County Autism Network put forth a Proclamation to the Town of Greater Napanee and they have not let us down. This October we will celebrate our 2nd Annual “Light It Up Blue Campaign for Autism Awareness”

October is National Autism Awareness month. Autism Awareness month is a time to celebrate differences and reflect on the importance of awareness, acceptance and understanding in all aspects of our community.

Lennox & Addington County Autism Network (LACAN), we are committed to creating a kinder, more inclusive community for people living with autism. We strive to change the face of autism within our community as well as pursue efforts to increase understanding and acceptance of people living with autism.

We invite you to join us in this important endeavour, by supporting the “Light It Up Blue” Campaign.

Your support will help create inclusivity, strengthen health, social and educational programs, and reduce stigma toward people with autism in our community.

Businesses can show their support by lighting up their storefront blue and showcasing our “Light It Up Blue” poster to help promote autism awareness in our community.

To receive your free blue lightbulb (while supplies last) and poster, please contact Mandy at (613) 532-0465 or by email at lac.autismnetwork@gmail.com

Residents are encouraged to show their support by lighting up their own windows in blue.

Thank you for making our community a better place.

Strathcona Paper Centre, 2019.

http://www.napaneebeaver.ca/2019/09/26/napanee-to-light-it-up-blue-for-autism-in-october/

Blue lightbulbs for our community supporters.
Light It Up Blue – Autism Awareness month.
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LACAN Newsletter

Lessons from COVID

Greetings,

From my previous posts and blogs, many of you will be aware that  (LACAN) Lennox & Addington County Autism Network has a special interest in caring for people with (ASD) Autism Spectrum Disorder and related diagnosis. We provide specific support to our community and offer programs free of charge to families whom need it. This priority was encouraged by my experiences navigating the OAP Ontario Autism Program a few short years ago. It began our affiliation with the Autism community in Kingston, L&A County, Belleville and Quinte West and we have been expanding our efforts in autism care ever since.

Sticker Activity – Building Fine Motor Skills

While there is no cure for ASD, there is support and awareness. Support has, and, continues to be, the central pillar of our organization. Today with 1:55 diagnosed with ASD, our vision is to change the face of Autism.

Reflecting on a recent meeting of care for my son, affected with autism, it occurred to me that there are many parallels to COVID-19. Both strike people of all walks of life; both are disorienting and isolating and both are incredibly difficult on individuals and family units.

The COVID pandemic provided all of us with a sense of the confusion and isolation that ASD families experience regularly. But this never ends for many who live with autism. Whether it is isolation due to the mental limitations of ASD, sensory processing disorders, or quarantine for COVID, the risks often places people living with autism apart from the people they love and cherish.

COVID has highlighted the work of home-care workers and family caregivers. Previously invisible to the care ecosystem, they have received a big lift in public respect and admiration as the warriors in this battle for support.

SLP – Big Words Little People

Home has now been firmly established as a safe place to care for someone guarding against COVID and for someone living with ASD. And now, as we have all learned to stay connected using technology so too must we enhance social connections with loved ones and health-care professionals using tools like virtual support groups and zoom conferences.

We must stand united in our support of families, caregivers and home-care workers who are the backbone of our support system. I believe we must never shut families out of the care process. Perhaps this will help to lessen the pain of the far too many grieving family caregivers as a result of the regression COVID-19 has caused individuals and families affected by autism.

Sincerely,

Mandy Stapley

LACAN Founder/President

www.lacautismnetwork.com

Email: lac.autismnetwork@gmail.com

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Speech Therapy Tools & Tricks

Lowercase Sandpaper Letters – SLP recommended for sensory touch pairing with letter sounds!

These cards came in today! I’m excited to start using these in our home.

Thank you, Big Words Little People – Speech-Language Pathology and Literacy Consulting for always coming up with creative ways to get Hank to engage in speech sessions.

Didax Educational Resources… https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B002LHF1F4?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share