Uncategorized

Review by Autistics of Netflix’s ‘Love on the Spectrum’. Autism Ontario.

BY: MICHAEL CNUDDE
October 13, 2020

When it was first announced back in July, Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum caused a big stir in the autistic community. The show follows a group of young adults on the spectrum as they navigate the world of relationships and dating. While these things are challenging for neurotypicals, they can be even more so for people on the spectrum. How would the show’s producers treat their subjects? Would they present a balanced and realistic view? Or would it be overly sentimental to the point of being saccharine? 

As part of Autism Ontario’s broader initiative to examine how autistic people are portrayed in the media, we assembled a focus group of adults on the spectrum to review Love on the Spectrum. The group consisted of self-advocates Aaron Lenc, an employee of the City of Brampton; Matthew Lemay, professional writer; Courtney Weaver, freelance writer; and, David Moloney Autism Ontario Board Member. Michael Cnudde, self-advocate and Specialist Communications and Project Development, Autism Ontario, moderated the panel. Aaron’s mother, Tania White was also present.

“I was enthusiastic about it when I first heard about it,” says Courtney Weaver. “There are unfortunate stereotypes that autistic people are incapable of romantic love, or just don’t want romantic love. It was interesting to debunk this stereotype.” 

Aaron Lenc looked forward to the show for another reason. “I really liked this show because I want a girlfriend, but I want to learn how to date. I learned from it and it was a good start.” 

Jodi Rogers works with Andrew

Other panelists commented on the presence of Jodi Rogers, a relationship expert who works with people on the on the spectrum on the show and provided guidance and support where it was needed. 

“I personally really liked Jodi. I have worked with people like her in the past,” said Matthew Lemay. “I feel like the general population thinks that after a certain age people with autism don’t need help, and that’s not necessarily true. She was a wonderful addition to the show as she was able to bridge the gap between what people were needing.” 

The idea of having someone acting as mentor is important, said David Moloney. “They need to proceed with the utmost of care, and really listen to the people they are profiling.” 

“I thought it was easy to watch, refreshing, and the candidness of the participants on the show was so good,” said Courtney. “I laughed out loud when one of the established couples said, ‘When it comes to the two of us as a couple, I am fire, and he is water. When we are together it gets steamy.’  

Aaron found the series very accessible. He watched all five episodes first by himself, and again with his family. “We paused and talked about what was happening,” said Aaron’s mother Tania White. “That was very helpful and a great resource for us as a whole family.” 

Each panel member seemed to have their own favourite cast member. For Matthew it was Michael, whom he expressed a kinship for. “I had a few that I liked… I enjoyed Jimmy and Shenae. They were cute as a couple and their experience was lovely. It made me teary.” 

“My favourite person in the show was Olivia Sharp,” said Courtney. “When she said, ‘Living on the spectrum was like living in a transparent box.’ Mentioning that barrier between people was an astute observation.”  

Kelvin and Maddi sit together eating sushi

Aaron found the show very relatable. “I liked Kelvin because his autism was like mine, he noted. “I hope there is a second season.” 

All the participants agreed the series was worthy of another season and hoped its producers would expand its cast to make it more diverse to include Black, Indigenous and people of colour as well as more LBGTQIA2S+ representation.  

A second season would be especially useful, said Aaron’s mother Tania because it might also explore understanding rejection and picking up social cues. “Even being able read the cues so it doesn’t cross the line when experiencing rejection is a necessary skill.”  

 An issue for many portrayals of autistics in the media was inclusion, fairness, and realism, which the panelists discussed. “I agree that people were portrayed fairly,” said Courtney. “With the genre of reality TV, there is a certain narrative and 1:1 interviews and editing take place within this genre. This was done as organically as you can do this.” 

Matthew agreed with Courtney, adding, “There are certain editing and narrative decisions in a show that are unavoidable, but people were treated and portrayed as organically and fairly as possible.” 

It is important for producers and writers to listen to people on the spectrum, said David when portraying people with autism. “Often people cast individuals who aren’t representing people on the spectrum as they should be…We should be represented as diverse, appreciated, hard-working, welcomed in society, and enhancing the social framework. Inclusion everywhere.” 

Images provided courtesy of Netflix Canada


https://www.autismontario.com/news/adult-autistics-review-netflixs-love-spectrum

Credit: Autism Ontario / Images Netflix Canada

Neurodiversity, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving message from LACAN

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the midst of all that’s happening around the world right now, we still have so much to be grateful for. Thanks to your generosity and support, our network and events have continued to make an impact in the lives of people living with ASD.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
The team at the Autism Network Lennox & Addington County. (LACAN)

Sincerely,

Mandy

http://www.lacautismnetwork.com
lacautismnetwork@gmail.com
(C) 613-532-0465

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/

Neurodiversity, Uncategorized

Jocelyn Vilneff has accepted LACAN’s offer to join us as an Associate Member.

Jocelyn Vilneff
LACAN’s Newest Associate Member

We couldn’t be more excited about Jocelyn joining our team as an associate member with LACAN.

Jocelyn might appear to be young but don’t judge a book by its cover! Jocelyn has gained great amount of inspiration during her experiences being a dance teacher.

It was here when she learned valuable lessons while working with children. She had a strong sense for a greater need for inclusion of children living with barriers and exceptionalities.

Jocelyn worked at Kool Kamp held at Children and Family Services in Napanee, where she was inspired by each and every child she worked with. Kool Kamp is geared towards inclusion and providing supports for persons with exceptionalities to experience summer camps.

This experience lead Jocelyn to become a respite worker with Children’s Aid Services, as well as in personal residences.

Jocelyn recognizes that with every child, comes new needs, and she believes in fostering a supportive environment, with positivity, for an individual to 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, which is an asset to our organization.

Jocelyn shares her experiences of witnessing children who could 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.

Jocelyn

Join us on Facebook at: Autism Network LAC.

Neurodiversity, Uncategorized

Help Bring Positive Changes to Neurodiversity by Signing E-Petition 2858

We’ve been working on lots of exciting projects in the name of autism. But this project is so important to me because it can create the most change for our future generations.

To do this, I need your help to make a real difference. All I ask is for you to sign the petition linked below. 👇🏻

Be a part of the change.

Any Canadian citizen can sign here 👇🏻 by simply clicking on the hyper-link below.

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-2858

You can help by bringing e-petition 2858 to the attention of your elected official, your family and friends.

Lennox & Addington County Autism Network will be there to watch MP Sloan while he presents this in the House of Commons.

Please take the time to ensure this petition gets the attention it deserves, no matter your political affiliation.

***Check your Junk folder, you will have to confirm your submission, only The House of Commons sees the signatures.***

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/

October Autism Awareness Month - Feature.

Light It Up Blue Campaign to support autism awareness.

The month of October has arrived!

2nd Annual Light It Up Blue for Greater Napanee

LACANs “Light It Up Blue” Campaign to support autism awareness and inclusion starts today.

This campaign will run “Feature Fridays” each week in the month of October, featuring four persons in our community living with ASD.

In “Changing the Face of Autism” we aim to share just how uniquely awesome our friends living with ASD are!

We are featuring people to showcase how they make our community better by simply being themselves.

Check our Facebook page and/or website this Friday October 2, 2020 for our first feature.

LACANs Feature Fridays

Uncategorized

Support – Autism Strategy E-petition (2858)

I need your help to make a real difference in the name of autism.

Any Canadian citizen can sign here, click on the hyper-link below. 👇🏻

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-2858

Three easy steps:

1.) Click the link above.

2.) Fill in your name and Email.

3.) Verify your Email.

MP Derek Sloan supports E-petition 2858

You can help bring e-petition 2858 to the attention of your elected official, your family and friends.

Lennox & Addington County Autism Network will be there to watch MP Sloan while he presents this in the House of Commons.

Please take the time to ensure this petition gets the attention it deserves, no matter your political affiliation.

***Don’t forget to check your Junk folder, as you will have to confirm your submission.***

Uncategorized

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.
Uncategorized

Anyone else have mom-guilt when sending little food to school in their lunch bag?

We’re ready for our first school adventure tomorrow.

This photo makes me extremely emotional for many reasons. It reminds me Hank is different and requires so much more support to be included.

Let’s talk food aversions.

Does anyone else struggle with guilt when sending your child to school with non-nutritional food items?

Hank has had such a difficult relationship with food; texture, smell, colour and taste.

Hank eats; corn-twists, plain rice cakes, peanut butter toast, McDonald’s fries/hash browns and milk.

The food clinic through Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, Ontario was consulted and shared its typically the case with children who live with ASD.

Professionals in their field shared, food aversions and sensory processing disorder is common in ASD children with relation to food preferences.

The Maltby Centre food program was overall unsuccessful for Hank and it continues to be an ongoing challenge throughout his journey.

I continue to remain hopeful that with time Hank will want to try more foods so he can have a positive relationship to that avail.

We’re starting back to school tomorrow with a transitioned amount of time: two hours.

We’re transitioning from an intense behavioural intervention (IBI) 19 hours per week to community supports (ABA) 3-5 maybe max 10 hours per week.

This is AGAINST parent recommendations and without opportunity to appeal.

YES. You read that CORRECTLY.

In a democratic society this seems unethical, but I’ll move on and hope I get answers to the questions I’ve placed in professional hands.

Clinical supervisor gave a recommendation from the Maltby Center, whom is contracted from OAP (Ontario Autism Program)

It is in Hank’s best interest in the meantime to take full advantage of the 6 month allotted transition time for IBI to ABA service individuals.

Maltby transition team, along with LDSB is an excellent resource that should be utilized more!

This team is diligently working to support Hank in making his transition to full-time public school as smooth as possible.

I’d love to hear your experiences or ideas in getting littles to try new foods with severe food aversions.