Mission Statement: This blog was created to provide information on getting help for autism in general while focussing on locally available resources for families with newly diagnosed children in Belleville and Quinte area.

Please browse the blog at your leisure. You are welcome to comment on the posts. If you are a parent, an autism consultant, counselor, teacher with information on autism resources available in our area, please email your information to benziesangma@gmail.com. Your information will be added within 24 hours.

Local Autism Support Groups

Parents Engaging Autism Quinte (PEAQ), an autism parent support group, meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month (no meetings in January, July and August) at Kerry's Place, 189 Victoria Avenue, Belleville at 6:30 to 8 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for autism topics that are important to you please go to our FaceBook account and post your suggestions so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. There won't be any meeting in December but we are taking local families supporting individuals with moderate to severe sensory challenges to the Christmas Event at the Children's Safety Village half an hour prior to the event being opened to the public.

Autism parent support group meeting hosted by Mental Health Agency, Trenton and Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) meeting is on the Second Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If you have require any further information please contact Marya Peters for more information at 613 392-2811 ext 3953 or email marya.p@trentonmfrc.ca

For info on Community Living Prince Edward County Parent Support group, contact Resource Consultants @ 613 476 6038

Central Hastings Autism Support Group meets in Madoc at the Recreation Centre. Contact Renee O’Hara, Family Resource & Support, 613-966-7413 or Tammy Kavanagh, Family Resource & Support, 613-332-3227

Strategies for challenging behaviours

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2 Fifth Annual World Autism Awareness Day

I suppose we need a specific day like today April 2 to raise further awareness of autism and its effect on an individual. We are in a much better position than, say, 10 years ago because today we have programs and services, which, when a family is able to access them, gives them hope for a better future for their offspring with autism spectrum disorder. The programs, which are increasing in the array available to those who are financially able to access them, are indeed many and parents of these children believe that one of those programs that would fit their child. They have hope today. The general public too is today somewhat more aware of the nature of autism and they are in a better position to feel empathy for a parent who has taken the proactive step to counter disapproving frowns on people's faces when they have to watch the child scream or spin or flap their hands uncontrollably in public places. They know that it has to do with a disorder they don't fully understand yet and that the it's not caused by poor parenting skills. People are reading and listening about autism. They are curious about why individual with autism behave and think in a certain way. We now have an open mind that seeks to understand it and seek solutions. We have the government including programs and services for autism in its annual budget. It's not nearly enough because we still have long painful waiting lists for these services and children suffer for years before it becomes their turn. School boards are mandated to come up with support programs to assist these children academically. Teachers and educational assistants are growing in their awareness of the issues these children face in group learning environment. They are taking extra courses. Whether they are able to walk back into their classrooms and apply what they've learned as effectively as they should, it's a different matter. But, we have this help out there and when we talk more about it openly with those around us, we spread the word and more people get involved in solving this great mystery of autism that is stalking our children and members of our communities. So, that's why it's important that we continue to highlight autism issue and have it gain momentum each year so that one day we can reach that moment when we get to know what's causing autism and we are able to address it in the best possible way. Right now, we have theories and solutions. Parents of these children would go to the ends of the earth to find that hopeful solution and help give their child a better future. At this time, parents like these are fighting for their child as if in a fog. They see their child suffering and want to know why so that they can begin seeking help but the lack of knowledge as to what the cause of autism, these parents are left in a trial and error situations. The only way the general public can help these families for now is to show empathy for their daily struggles, at times loss of hope and frustrations. By helping to educate those around them and preventing an unkind word from reaching the child with autism and his/her family members, they are helping families affected by autism spectrum disorder in their own way. To them, I say read more and more to understand autism. Meanwhile, join in today in sharing the joys of a child with autism in families you already know.

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In it for the long haul...

I created this blog with my sincere wish that those of you reading this will want to share your own stories, both good and bad, what worked for you and what didn't and together, we can make it easier for the next family beginning their own journey of discovery. By posting what you know, where you have recieved certain services, who you have talked to, whose expertise you trust, how you navigated the school education services and by responding to questions in the discussion thread, know that you have helped a family in need. So, parents, experts in the field, counsellors, teachers and everyone who has any information on resources available, please feel free to post on this blog.