Editor’s note: the following is a guest editorial from Mandy Stapley of the Lennox and Addington Community Autism Network
As October’s end is nearing, I’d like to leave you with final thoughts of our campaign aimed at awareness of individuals living within the autism spectrum. Although it goes without saying, we don’t need a campaign to spread awareness, however it has provided a great opportunity to engage with local businesses, media and residents who may not have been aware of autism and how greatly it affects our community every day.
I’ve had a chance over the last few weeks to reflect on the many achievements our community has brought forth in this short month.
The Morningstar Mission has continued to serve hot meals for many individuals in our community who otherwise would not have seen a warm meal over the holidays and beyond.
The list of volunteers who cook, package and deliver these meals is never short of volunteers, which is heart-warming.
I have observed our community working tirelessly to social distance and endeavour to remain close to their friends during these challenging times. Spirits remain high, which I believe reflects strongly on the leadership our community is providing.
Our local businesses continue to show us the value of shopping local, which I believe is the heart and soul of our community.
Our elected officials continue to work hard to maintain a safe place for us to live, work and play.
I am thankful for all of these things.
I am even more thankful for community, I am never disappointed with the show of support for its people. This is the Second Annual Autism Awareness Month the Town of Greater Napanee has seen. Our community has raised the bar of awareness for ASD.
I observed diversity supporting posters, blue light bulbs, radio announcements, and social media postings all from you the community.
This fills my heart with joy.
The first step is to be aware, second step is to understand. Understanding leads to education and inclusion.
LACAN’s awareness campaign has begun to shine a light on a spectrum that lives right here in our town.
Hank, Alexandria, Noah and Justin are just a few of the extraordinary individuals living in our community with ASD.
*The 2018 National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System (NASS) Report estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 66 children in Canada. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
*An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year.
*Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
*Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the above-mentioned persons because without their contribution in this project it would not have been possible. I believe our lives would be a little less sparkly!