Today at lunch members of the Kiwanis Club of Victoria learned about the Canuks Autism Network (CAN).
Stephanie Shack and Mark Provencal were there representing the network and shared some great information with the club; what is autism, some information on CAN and the types of programs they offer.
My favourite slide was regarding the question - What is Autism: A(lways) U(nique) T(otally) I(Interesting) S(ometimes) M(ysterious). That seems to reflect the autistic children I have met very well :)
I was surprised to find that the diagnosis rates are as high as 1 in 68 children now and that the range of autism is so huge;from non verbal to super high functioning.
According to their literature they have over 1000 families in BC as current members. Their programs are offered for kids, teens and young adults (ages 4-30). These programs are offered free of charge as part of the membership package ($25 per year for membership). They offer sports programs, camp programs and family events in an attempt to offer something for every child. In some cases they partner with different organization, who's skill better matches the program.
The staff and volunteers are so important in an organization like this. CAN employs more the 150 part-time support workers and I think Stephanie mentioned they planned to add another 100 this fall. CAN also utlizes the skill of more the 350 volunteers (voluteer to child ratios are usually 1:1 or 2:1 depending on the need). There are also 18 full time office staff to run the day-to-day operations.
Coming up soon (I have to check the date) CAN is hosting a Movie nite in Victoria for anyone who has an autistic child (or friend) you do not need to be a member to come and enjoy the showing. Admission will be by donation.
We thank Stephanie and Mark for taking the time today to talk to our club about Autism it was a very entlightening and enjoyable presentation.
For more information please visit the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) Website: www.canucksautism.ca