A lack of services for families living with autism, hyperactivity, or anxiety led the Canucks Autism Network to partake on a tour of northern B.C. communities.
The Northern Training Tour saw Stephanie Jull, director of programming for the Canucks Autism Network, visit Peace Region communities last week to provide guidance on what autism is and how to interact with those who have it.
“It’s all about how to think from the perspective of a person with autism, as opposed to a bag of tips and tricks,” she said.
Jull says the statistics show that one in 68 kids have autism, which makes it more common than most people think.
“It’s less about how to diagnose your kid, as we leave that for other people, but it does help people understand why they’re seeing the challenges they may be seeing,” said Jull.
The workshops welcomed community recreation staff, coaches, teachers, parents and anyone else that worked with or wanted to know more about kids with autism. Jull said she showed how these people could adapt their communication, coaching or teaching style to support those kids.
“We talk about how you can adapt instructions for someone with a short attention span, and something called show and say, which is never just speak, but also show how to do it as well,” she said, adding that these techniques also work with children that have ADD/ADHD or anxiety issues as well.
“If they’re having a hard time the first day, we don’t give up,” said Jull. “It doesn’t mean they won’t ever like it, it’s just how we keep them going and feel comfortable until they learn to love it.”
Canucks Autism Network held workshops in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek and Tumbler Ridge over the weekend before heading to Burns Lake, Smithers and Prince Rupert this week. Jull said she absolutely wants to come to the north again to hold more workshops in the future.
“Lots of kids with autism are signing up for things like swimming lessons, community rec staff want to know how to engage those kids,” she said. “We want to make sure (the kids) feel included and that they’re confident in being able to support them.”
For more information about the Canucks Autism Network, visit canucksautism.ca.