Autism awareness does not reach very far past those impacted in the Autism community, leading to stigmatization and misunderstanding. On October 3, 2021, community members and businesses celebrated raising $10000 for the Hamilton Walk on Wheels Car Parade. The car parade was a fundraiser for Autism Speaks Canada, where participants raised money and joined together to complete a march for support and awareness. Like other fundraisers, each participant seemed to have a personal connection to the cause via a family member or friend.
1 in 66 children in Canada is diagnosed with Autism. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning each child is impacted differently. Some signs of Autism include lack of facial expressions, inability to recognize nonverbal cues, and repetitive behavior patterns. While some individuals with Autism require more support, others do not. An Autism diagnosis can be very isolating for families as society often examines the negatives associated with Autism. Those with Autism also possess strengths including long-term memory skills, honesty, detail orientation, a better understanding of numbers and patterns, special interests, and much more.
Autism Speaks mission is to increase early childhood screening, increase global understanding and acceptance, be a catalyst for research breakthroughs, improve the transition into adulthood, and ensure access to reliable information and services. The organization uses 85% of every dollar to fund research, advocate for understanding and acceptance, and provide assistance and support.
The remaining 10% goes towards fundraising, while 5% goes toward management. Long time Autism Speaks participants Reith and Carrie Szeles attending this year’s event said, “That the number of those diagnosed with Autism has changed dramatically and continues to increase. The need for diagnoses is increasing because there are still so many doctors who don’t want to label a child, but it hurts them because they cannot get the services they need”.
Reith and Carrie added that the services provided by Autism Speaks and local business sponsors do not go unnoticed. Reith was provided a Samsung Tablet by Autism Speaks which helps him with daily activities such as creating visual art. They also note how businesses can make the event extra fun for participants. While some companies support the event by sponsoring, others provide gifts, coupons, and mascots.
Metrocon Ready Mix Corp., arrived in Hamilton with a branded Autism Speaks Canada cement truck. Ezio Carrero, a spokesperson from Metrocon Ready Mix, mentioned that their branded truck travels to each Autism Speaks event to spread awareness about Autism.
Krista Clinch, South Central Ontario Regional Coordinator at Autism Speaks Canada, said, ” Growing the organization with Covid-19 has been a challenge, but we are doing our best. However, our support to the community has not changed”.
While the Hamilton Walk on Wheels Car Parade is over, those interested can still join the Windsor Walk on Wheels Parade on October 16, 2021, or the Barrie Walk on Wheels on October 17, 2021.
Kindly feel free to donate to Autism Speaks events:
Author: Kathryn Intini, Content Writer, St.Catharines, Canada. Kathryn is a fourth-year Business Communications student at Brock University. With an interest in big data analytics and a commitment to lifelong learning, she hopes to work in technical sales. She has been recognized for selling over $1 million in products at her summer sales job and her commitment to Autism Speaks Canada. If you have any stories or comments, kindly email: – [email protected]