To celebrate Autism Awareness Day earlier this month, the students at St. Mary – St. Cecilia Catholic School in Morrisburg did much more than just wear the ASD colours of purple and orange.
They also learned a lot about ASD, the importance of understanding, including and celebrating the differences of those with the condition of ASD.
On top of that, they raised funds to donate to the CHEO Autism program.
Autism Spectrum Disorder has many symptoms and levels within the spectrum.
It is a condition that affects the way the brain works and how people develop.
People who have it don’t look different, but have particular ways of sensing, learning and understanding things.
They especially have difficulty with communication and social behaviour.
It can affect people in different ways and degrees.
Nobody knows exactly what causes ASD, but they do know that it is one of the fastest growing diagnoses in the world.
Nationally, one in 88 children is diagnosed with autism.
There is a growing movement among adults with autism who don’t think in terms of curing autism, but instead of celebrating difference.
This celebration of difference was how St. Mary – St. Cecilia staff and students chose to honour Autism Awareness Day.
Pat Cole, Applied Behavioural Analysis Expertise Professional with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario helped educated the students during a special assembly.
She and a team of similar experts train all staff board-wide on how to help students and educators support each other in a way that is beneficial to all within the classroom, including those with ASD.
The highlight of the Autism Day assembly was a performance by Paskale Pilon, a High School Student from St. Joe’s with autism. He sang a heart-warming rendition of True Colors.
Through the school’s fund raising effort $685 was raised for the CHEO Autism program to support families in need. For every dollar donated, students received a ticket to win some great prizes donated by the Conners family, Mrs. Martel and Canadian Tire. Prizes included sports memorabilia, electronic accessories and recreational gear.