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 so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. Next PEAQ meeting is on June 5.

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

Transition planning for elementary school students with autism

Monday, July 8, 2013

Off to his first full-day summer camp ever!

Today, my son went to a full-day summer camp for the very first time. Of course, I didn't sleep very well thinking about it last night. Maybe it's going well for him today or maybe it's not. We'll see about what happens tomorrow - whether or not he'll continue his camp for the rest of the week. His camp is called Computer Game Design. Exciting stuff! He was fairly excited about it at the time we signed him up for it last month. He chose it himself from among the myriad of camps listed and I thought that that was the way to go. Let him choose, I thought. I figured that by letting him choose for himself, it might interest and motivate him enough to get up early and go to the camp. The theory was not spot on this morning because he was tired from staying up last night. Also, he's not the most expressive of people so I can't be hundred percent sure that he was ecstatic about going to the camp. But he got ready on time so I presumed that he was ready to go. Well he's there now and I'm here writing about it.
I did my homework prior to the camp as usual, of course. I called up the staff, who was a bit overwhelmed when I said aloud the word "autism" in connection with my son. She asked if my son has a TA or teacher assistant at school and I said yes but one whose 20 minute time in the classroom is thinly spread among 5 or 6 students. Then she said that summer camp instructors are not equipped to deal with children with disabilities. I'm not sure if she heard me say that my son has mild autism and high-functioning and independent and easy going and laughs a lot and very much verbal. I guess it might have been too much to drop the autism "bomb" on an unsuspecting person like her. But I wonder how establishments that run these programs for ALL children can afford to not know what autism is and at least the basics of what works for them. I'm thinking basics such as information on what the day looks like, when the breaks are, where they will have lunch etc. etc. So, I decided that I'll have to handle this the same way as I did other new situations involving my son. I went on a tour of his camp location, walked him back and forth from the washroom so that he'll be able to do it himself, talked to his instructor and found out the details of the day and the type of computer tools that they'll be using during the camp. This all happened within the week prior to his camp starting. All these steps so that the day will become predictable for him and reduce his anxiety of the unfamiliar. All I can do right now is hope that I did enough to make him comfortable and be successful at his first ever day camp. So exciting and at the same time a nail-biting experience this!

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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.