World Autism Awareness Day commemorated at Orangeville Town Hall

April 4, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Dignitaries and members or supporters of the local autism community gathered at Orangeville Town Hall on Tuesday (April 2) to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

Orangeville Mayor Lisa Post read out a proclamation declaring the day, which was followed by the raising of the new Autism Ontario flag.

This year’s Autism Speaks Canada Walk Ambassador for Dufferin County, Solomon Vahey, shared a speech at the gathering.

He said, “I am 11 years old. I am autistic. I am proud to be the Autism Speaks Canada (ASC) Walk Ambassador for 2024. I love my Town of Orangeville. I hope to be an example to my community.”

Solomon’s father, David Vahey, also shared a speech about being an autistic father to an autistic son. He commented on the lack of publicly funded support available for himself since he’s able to function at a high level and that he’s fortunate to be able to have a family.

Vivian Petho, Solomon’s mother and Vahey’s wife, said the flag raising “symbolizes that there are people out there that are different, but not less.”

“This allows people to see them, and hopefully, it’s not just about awareness today, but it’s awareness for the whole month, the whole year,” said Petho.

She said even more important than awareness is education, and ultimately acceptance for people with autism.

Yazmine Wilson-Daponte, 20, was the local ASC Walk Ambassador in 2022 and attended the autism flag-raising with her mother Karrie Daponte.

Karrie noted that all of April is World Autism Month, which is aimed at starting conversations and promoting greater understanding.

“This month is supposed to be a learning experience for everyone,” she said.

Autism presents itself in many different ways, as it’s a spectrum, so it’s important for the public to be understanding of people who may look or behave differently.

“Have an open mind and don’t be judgmental when you see somebody who’s different,” Karrie said. 

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.