Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary – MagAAFSine

The Cause

One of the hallmarks of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is difficulty with verbal and social communication but many have an extraordinary ability to think visually. Writing is a form of expression which requires little or no verbal interaction which can open new doors of communication. This program creates a place for individuals on the spectrum who are creatively inclined with an affinity for storytelling, reading or writing to develop their passion. Creative writing is accommodating, stimulating and invigorating and relies heavily on self-direction and self-advocacy. Participants will develop their verbal and social communication skills through interviews and interactions with other participants. The writing programs can open up a whole world of opportunities – social and work. It can improve the ability to imagine/think symbolically; recognize and respond to facial expressions; manage sensory issues (smells, sounds); and improve motor skills. Our participants will develop: self-confidence, enhanced feelings of self-worth, the ability to advocate for themselves and the ASD community, new coping skills, and a greater sense of community. Through the on-line magazine, they will highlight and showcase the talents and accomplishments of the ASD community. Creative Communication: A 4-week program introducing and involving members in advertising communication, poetry, journalism, and comic strip communication. The second program, Journalism and Magazine Making is an 8-week program involving the creation and management of an on-line AAFS magazine. The program will cover assignment designations to interviews to lay-out to editing and the final product.

Who Will it Benefit?

In 2004, Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary (AAFS) was founded to address the gap between the therapeutic setting, in-home respite and a fulfilling life. When we began, we helped seven (7) families. Now we have over 400 and the number is growing. When AAFS was founded, the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was 1 in 300. Today, that number is 1 in 45. It is clear the rate of diagnosis has increased and we need to prepare ourselves to assist many more individuals struggling to achieve their potential. Centers across Canada consult with us about our unique model.

Participants, their families, the ASD community and the communities where participants live will all benefit from this program. Organizations with an interest in the ASD community (e.g. Autism Calgary, The Ability Hub, Allies For Autism) will also benefit from having this voice.

MagAAFSine will showcase the ASD community and provide a \'voice\' for a segment of our population unrecognized and generally ignored. These individuals have so much to offer, if we only took the time to listen.