Maddyssen Howes, a junior kindergarten student at Ecole Ste-Lucie, blows a bubble to help mark World Autism Awareness Day.
CORNWALL, Ontario - Hundreds of students across SD and G held events for World Autism Awareness Day in an attempt to draw greater focus to a disorder that continues to hide in the shadows despite efforts to bring it into the spotlight.
At Ecole Ste-Lucie, north of Cornwall, dozens of young students gathered outside to raise a flag to mark the occasion, and then blew thousands of bubbles into the air to mark the occasion.
The message is simple: autism can be compared to living inside of a bubble as it is often difficult for individuals affected by the disorder to express themselves and relate to their peers. The idea behind the bubble-blowing is to burst barriers and bring acceptance and awareness to the disorder through education.
"The parents really need our support," said Ste-Lucie special education teacher Pascale Delormier. "Right now they are expected to be psychologists, therapists and more - and they are feeling overwhelmed."
Delormier, who is also the outreach co-ordinator for the local chapter of Autism Ontario, called on senior levels of government to provide more funding to help parents seeking respite services and the like.
"These families need more help," she said. "More needs to be done for therapy, too."
More to come.