Supporting Autistic Canadians and Their Families

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Autism spectrum disorders, which include a wide range of neuro-developmental conditions, include Asperger syndrome and challenges associated with social interactions, speech, repetitive behaviours, and non-verbal communication.[1]

What are autism spectrum disorders?

Approximately, 60,000 Canadians are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, half of whom are younger than 25 years old, according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability.[2] The “spectrum” part of “autism spectrum disorders” refers to the variations in strengths and challenges among those living with autism. Needs are unique and vary widely by individual. Some autistic children and adults need little support, while others, along with their families, need comprehensive assistance..

Supporting autistic Canadians means supporting education and special services, such as guide dogs, who offer companionship and independence. It also means contributing to sports, recreational, arts, cultural, and musical programs that bring joy and creativity to people’s lives.

How charities in Canada are ensuring autism support and assistance is available for all

In Canada, charities provide information and programs to support autistic Canadians, as well as the educators, healthcare professionals, and researchers who work with them – but they work with dwindling resources, even as needs increase.[3]

About a third of autistic Canadians report having less than a high-school education, and a third report being employed, according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability.[4] Charities, which are often run by volunteers and parents, create a more welcoming environment for autistic individuals in schools and workplaces, in conjunction with educational programs and job-training initiatives.

Many organizations focus on programs for children and youth, but support services for educators, parents, and caregivers are just as important, including forums for parents and professionals to communicate about autism issues. These are the caregivers who best understand young people’s needs and day-to-day challenges and successes.

Networks include local, regional and national organizations, often run by volunteers, who advocate on behalf of people living with autism. They know how important it is to share experiences, increase community acceptance of individuals with autism, and build communities that are inclusive and empowering. They also fundraise for and promote and support research into causes and treatments of autism, all the while championing networks of scientists, researchers, governments, and public leaders and celebrities who support the work.

You can help improve the quality of life for autistic Canadians and their families

Charities across Canada provide  tools, programs, and advocacy efforts to ensure autism support and assistance is accessible for all. To enable this critical charitable work, CanadaHelps created the Autism Community Support Fund. In a single transaction, Canadians can support the work of more than 20 charities committed to improving the quality of life for autistic Canadians and their families. Gifts made to this Fund are pooled together to achieve wide-reaching impact and to help Canadian charities continue their important work.

Learn more about this Fund now, and how you can support autistic Canadians and their families. >>

References:

[1] From: “Autism Overflows: Increasing Prevalence and Proliferating Theories” (2008), found at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11065-008-9074-x AND https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/centre-for-autism-services-alberta/ AND https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/infographic-autism-spectrum-disorder-highlights-canadian-survey-disability.html

[2] From: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/infographic-autism-spectrum-disorder-highlights-canadian-survey-disability.html

[3] For charity paragraphs, I used info from the first few dozen charities in 287 search results for “autism” on CanadaHelps site.

[4] From: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/infographic-autism-spectrum-disorder-highlights-canadian-survey-disability.html

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