Orangeville celebrates World Autism Day

April 15, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville celebrates World Autism Day

Orangeville celebrated World Autism Day on April 6. Council and the Mayor raised the flag representing the day of significance and read a proclamation during a private ceremony on April 1.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, and unique strengths and differences, according to the Autism Speaks Canada website. There are 1 in 66 children currently diagnosed with Autism in Canada.

Dufferin Autism Committee offers support and resources, such as links to take-home kits for individuals with Autism.

“We have a messenger chat for families in Dufferin county, and we offer support, give shoutouts for birthdays and anniversaries of the parent, child or adults of Autism. We give links to take-home kits and resources we found around town,” said Karrie Daponte, founder of the Dufferin Autism Committee.

Daponte has a 17-year-old daughter, Yazmine Wilson-Daponte who is on the spectrum for autism. According to Daponte, her daughter wants to get a job like her twin brother, volunteer in the community, continue to be a strong advocate and continue to be an athlete.

“Yazmine’s smile and personality are quite infectious. Her carefree attitude and look on life is something we could all aspire to and learn from. The virtue of kindness, in waving to and saying hello, to literally every person she comes across, is so inspiring and again something we can all learn from.” said Daponte

Many individuals with Autism, such as Wilson-Daponte, have struggled during the pandemic because their routine has changed. She only goes to school in person on Thursday and Fridays, and the rest is online.

“My daughter, she just had her 17th birthday and is in grade 10, and that changed drastically. I am not sure if you are aware, but high school students don’t even go to school every day” said Daponte.

Along with school being changed because of the pandemic, Wilson-Daponte has to deal with her social interactions changing.

“She is very athletic, now all of her sports have changed, all of her social interactions have changed any play dates we would even have with the family changed. We didn’t celebrate Easter, we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas, so it’s very traumatic for them,” said Daponte.

Daponte stated that many individuals, such as Wilson-Daponte, benefit from social stories, which her school has incorporated to help her deal with the transition.

“Back in March, the school was very helpful in creating social stories because a lot of these individuals need social stories to deal with certain situations. So, for instance, when winter break is coming up, they will do a social story for winter break and how they won’t be going back to school,” said Daponte

Individuals can celebrate World Autism Day by creating more inclusion. According to Autism Speaks Canada, this can be done by “lighting it up blue.” Whether it is by wearing blue, lighting up a building such as business blue, or by sharing your story with #LightItUpBlue.

Yazmine Wilson-Daponte holds up a flag from Autism Ontario for World Autism Day.

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