Families, world experts, and persons on the autism spectrum share their experiences in this collection of stories. With a focus on the positive aspects of autism and the importance of community involvement and early intervention, Autism: The Gift That Needs to Be Opened is a resource whose aim is to improve the lives of parents, educators, and persons who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Awareness and advocacy for early diagnosis and treatment of autism have grown substantially over the past decade. According to Stephen W. Scherer, Ph.D., D.Sc., FRSC, There are new studies that show that every child who undergoes intensive behavioural intervention therapy improves in some way. In fact, I have heard rare stories of some children having full or near-full recoveries. The most important factor leading to positive outcomes, however, is to start such interventions early and, in the best-case scenario, even before the first signs of autism appear. These stories are inspirational and informative, while also serving as a reminder—indeed, as a rallying cry—that individuals who have autism can, with the proper care and attention, lead full and productive lives and change the way we see the world. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the Autism Society, Newfoundland and Labrador. Contributors: B. T. Hall Bridget Ricketts Dawn Haire-Butt Doug McCreary Dwayne LaFitte Heather Warner Jessica Butt Katrina Bajzak Krista Preuss-Goodreault Laura Hamlyn Michael McCreary Nicole Parsons Roseanne Hickey-Hatchett Sarah MacAulay Stephen W. Scherer Temple Grandin Tom Jackman Tori Oliver Tricia Teeft
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About the Author
In 1982, Autism Society Canada (ASC) held a meeting in St. John’s with the purpose of starting a chapter there. Barbara Hopkins, professor of education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, was invited to join ASC’s board of directors in 1983. Her mission was to create a chapter in St. John’s. A constitution and bylaws were drafted in 1987, and the Autism Society, Newfoundland Labrador (ASNL) was formally incorporated under the Newfoundland and Labrador Companies Act and registered as a charity under the Income Tax Act. The capital campaign to build a provincial autism centre officially began in 2003, with Craig and Elaine Dobbin as major benefactors. The doors opened in late 2005, but what would become the Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism officially opened in June 2006 to serve the Avalon Region. Other regional centres soon followed: the first regional office opened in 2009 in Grand Falls–Windsor to serve the South Central Region; the second opened in 2010 in Clarenville–Shoal Harbour to serve the Eastern Region; and the third opened in 2011 in Corner Brook to serve the Western Region. The Autism Society, Newfoundland and Labrador’s programs, services, and supports run from advocacy, on behalf of those people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) along with their families and caregivers, to outreach programs and employment opportunities. The goal of programming and outreach is to offer supports to clients in and around the St. John’s Metro area and to provide learning and growth opportunities in all areas of the province. Services are delivered from a staffed office with program space, each with a regional assistant manager, in the Avalon, Eastern, South Central, and Western regions.