This year’s Federated Health Charities campaign runs from April 3, 2023, to June 30, 2023. During the campaign, we will be highlighting each of our 21 charities and how they work to improve the health and well-being of people across our province.
Our first charity in the spotlight is Autism Ontario. Made up of knowledgeable parents, professionals, and autistic self-advocates who can speak to the key issues, Autism Ontario is the province’s leading source of information and referral on autism, and one of the largest collective voices representing the autism community.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that can affect body language and posture, social interactions and relationships, how someone engages with their interests, and sensory processing capacities. Autism exists in all cultures, ethnicities, races, and gender identities. Autism diagnoses are most prevalent during childhood, although assessments for autism in adulthood are becoming more common as a result of expanding diagnostic criteria and a significant increase in awareness and understanding. 1 in 66 Canadian children and youth will be diagnosed with Autism and there are approximately 135,000 autistic people living in Ontario. Autism Ontario was founded in 1973 by a group of parents looking to establish educational and support services for their children. At that time, autistic children were often institutionalized because educational resources and treatment options were not available to support them at home in their communities. For 50 years, Autism Ontario has worked alongside autistic individuals and their families to support, represent and advocate to ensure autistic children and adults have the resources, information and connections they need so they are equitably and seamlessly supported across the course of their lives.
Help make Autism Matter
Through their provincial office staff and regional care coordinators, Autism Ontario provides services to support autistic individuals and families throughout Ontario, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The programs and services Autism Ontario provides include learning and positive advocacy resources, webinars and workshops, child and family supports, adult programs, caregiver support groups, inclusive community events, and funding for March break and summer programs.
For the McCrearys – Susan and Doug, and their children, Andrew, Michael, and Matthew, who sadly passed away in 2018 – Autism Ontario helped provide a community. When Susan and Doug were told about their children’s diagnoses they sought out as much information as possible about autism, which brought them in contact with Autism Ontario. Autism Ontario helped Susan and Doug connect with other parents who understood the complexities and delights of being a parent of an autistic child or children. As John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.” Autism Ontario, and its network of volunteers and staff, provides inclusive and welcoming arms for everyone.
Autism Ontario has been a Federated Health Charities member since 2019, and we are proud to support Autism Ontario’s mission to create a supportive and inclusive Ontario for autism.
To learn more about Autism Ontario and the programs they provide, please visit Autism Ontario. To make a payroll pledge or donation to support Autism Ontario and Federated Health Charities, please visit Federated Health Charities.