World Autism Awareness Day is not a special day in my life. In fact, it is just like every other day. This is because every day I work to encourage the world to go beyond awareness to demystification.
When my child started school, I watched him suffer from social isolation in the school environment. Therefore, I felt compelled to do what I could to change this situation for all children who experience social isolation and peer rejection.
In 2002, after several years of extensive research, I designed and implemented the Friend 2 Friend Autism Demystification® Programs. With the unwavering support of my husband, we then founded Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society, a not for profit, charity based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The Society provides a variety of programs and services based on our signature Autism Demystification® model, as well as, the Friend 2 Friend – Integrated Play Groups programs based on the model created by Dr. Pamela Wolfberg.
Fast-forward 15 years to April 2, 2017 – World Autism Awareness day. The Society is now an international organization with satellite partners, publications and two Play Centres. But today marks another milestone for the Society. Today we unveil our new Autism Demystification® Online Course.
There is no question that a lot has been accomplished by the Society in 15 years, but it is not nearly enough. On this World Autism Awareness Day, I challenge you to learn how to model, label, explain and normalize, and to promote friendships between individuals with autism and their peers – Going Beyond Awareness To Demystification!