Autism Speaks Canada Walk: London 2017
|Campaign Walk Goal: $22,000.00||Campaign Fundraising Goal: $16,500.00|
|When: Sunday, May 28, 2017||Registration Begins: 09:45am|
|Where: Covent Garden Market||Walk Official Start: 10:45am|
|Address: 130 King St., London, ON (Directions)|
|Walk Distance: 3 km|
Local Walk Ambassador: Donovan
Donovan is a very happy and energetic 6 year old. He has a passion for many things: letters and numbers, puzzles, mazes, and anything Minion. I would be remiss if I did not add his love of the tablet. Whether it be watching YouTube, playing games or using his Look At Me app, he is fully engaged and echoes nearly anything said on it. We keep joking about how we should write a book on how the tablet has helped teach our kid to talk.
We have been extremely lucky during our journey with Donovan’s autism. There were many signs Donovan may be on the spectrum from an early age – some were concerning, others were shrugged off with the usual excuses. A serendipitous visit to a hospital emergency room led us to a kind nurse who gently compared our son to hers, giving us guidance on next steps and who to talk to as well as the assurance that all would be okay. Within 3 months we had a diagnosis and it has been a whirlwind since then. Immersing ourselves in a sea of self-research, reading and education sessions, eventually becoming involved in the annual Walk to gain access to information on services and community resources. At the time of diagnosis, Donovan was in the best possible day care situation we could have dreamed of. His educators had experience with autism and the center did all they could to ensure he was enriched, engaged and periodically receiving one-to-one therapy by welcoming in All Kids Belong and TVCC Speech Paths and OTs. He thrived in their environment, moving from segregating himself in the foyer to making a few friends - including his educators, who remain loved family friends to this day.
At the age of 4.5 we were introduced to the world of IBI with TVCC. We recognize how lucky we were to get in when we did and have access to the expertise of the therapists. The therapists have utilized Donovan’s love of learning and his obsession for letters and numbers to teach him functional and social communication skills. The gains he has made in the past 18 months has been astounding. He has increased his communication skills to 2-3 word sentences and his ability to ask for simple things. His new skills intact, we are entering a new phase of life – public school. Again, we have been lucky so far with the transition, working with the school and IBI on ensuring Donovan has a smooth transition, not only physically but with all the tools from IBI that has helped with his success to date.
Like any family affected by autism, there are many challenges and barriers whether it be from the autism itself or a strained system of services. But it is the gifts and achievements that make this journey worth it and why we would never trade it. Donovan has a unique love of people and life, drawing everyone in who meets him. He has taught us to celebrate every small achievement that many would normally take for granted. The achievements are hard fought and worth the wait. We are also so lucky to have so many family, friends and professionals who are more than willing to join in the celebrations each time – making it all that much more awesome.
The Walk includes fun activities, performers and snacks, before and after the Walk. Arrive early to give yourself lots of time to visit and enjoy the event with your family and friends!
Upon arrival at your Walk, please proceed to Registration to submit your cash and cheque donations with your pledge form(s). Ensure that your pledge form is clearly labeled with your name and team name (if part of a team) to ensure that you and your team receive recognition for all donations collected.
Be sure to visit the Resource Fair area to learn more about the services and programs that are available in your community. Resource Fairs are a part of our signature Walks. Please contact your Regional Walk Manager for more information or to inquire about a Resource Fair at your Walk.
The Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada event will commence with the opening ceremonies where all participants are invited to gather near the stage for presentations, stories, and fundraising updates. The Walk begins with an official countdown from the stage.
London Resource Fair:
Click here for a Resource Fair application form.
National Snack Sponsors: