World Autism Day marked with flag raising in Orangeville

April 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Moving public perception from awareness to acceptance was the main message during local World Autism Awareness Day celebrations on Friday (April 1).

Patti Thomas, mother of Emma, a five-year-old girl with autism, shared this sentiment following a flag raising and official proclamation from Mayor Sandy Brown in front of Town Hall.

“We need to be accepted,” said Thomas. “My message to the community is that I want you to accept the individuals that have autism because each and every one of them are full of gifts and skills. They’re all different, but they all uniquely have their own way of life.”

Thomas said she’s thrilled that the Town of Orangeville continues to support the local autism community by recognizing World Autism Day each year.

“It means a lot to me because I feel pride to live in this town that’s showing interest in our families,” she noted.

Approximately 1 in 66 Canadians are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Coun. Joe Andrews, who attended the local flag raising, said his family members are among those impacted.

“I have family who we have been dealing with their journey since they were infants when they were diagnosed, with my cousin and my nephew. Now they’re in their thirties and forties and they’ve become incredible, powerful people in our society in their own way,” noted Coun. Andrews, co-chair of Orangeville’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee.

“I’m just enamored to be a part of what we call their life circle, and see them evolve as a young child or young adult now into someone that is contributing to our society in their own way. For me it’s a very special journey to follow.”

Mayor Brown noted the Town’s efforts to make people with autism feel accepted locally.

“We’re just trying to welcome everybody in our community, regardless of what issue they might have,” he said. “We need to make sure those who have autism are included properly.”

The flag for World Autism Awareness Day was flown at Town Hall from April 1 to 4.

World Autism Awareness Day is recognized globally on April 2 each year.

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