World Autism Awareness Day Celebrations

The Cause

1 in 86 children in Calgary have Autism. Celebrating our differences leads an accepting and supportive community for all!
Autism Calgary is a registered charity that provides support for individuals and families living with ASD. Rates of ASD are on the rise. In 1992, when Autism Calgary formed, the rate of ASD was 1 in 2500. A 2014 Calgary based study revealed the prevalence of ASD among elementary aged children in the Calgary public school system for the 2012/2013 school year was 1 in 86. (Laying the Foundation for Policy: Measuring Local Prevalence for Autism Spectrum Disorder by Lowe, Dudley, Dutton, Zwicker, McMorris, Emery, Nicholas and Clarke). With the increased occurrence of this disorder the need for awareness and acceptance for individuals and families living with ASD is becoming more and more crucial.

Over the last 4 years Autism Calgary has joined with organizations and communities across Canada to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd. We have collaborated with two other community organizations (The Autism, Asperger’s Friendship Society and Allies for Autism Foundation) to host Canada’s largest celebration in Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary. In 2018 a national campaign is being launched for World Autism Awareness Day which will see it’s reach grow into the community, business world and education system with the “Inside Out for Autism” campaign. This campaign encourages individuals to turn their shirts inside out on April 2nd to signify their acceptance and solidarity with those who have a difference such as autism. It is a simple, free way that everyone can participate and the support the growing number of people with autism. School packages will also be distributed which encourage educators to take the chance to discuss with their students the importance of accepting those who are different, what autism is and the rising prevalence. We also have a team of trained volunteers and staff who will conduct informative and interactive presentations at schools, workplaces and in the community.

We are seeking support for the 2018 World Autism Awareness Day Celebrations as well as the educational campaign “Inside Out for Autism”.

Who Will it Benefit?

: The World Autism Awareness Day Celebrations in Olympic Plaza as well as the Inside Out for Autism Campaign will benefit individuals and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) across Calgary. By attending the event individuals and families gain an important sense of community and the fact that they are not alone. At our peak year in 2016 we had approximately 800 people at our event downtown. Many families told us the powerful impact it had on them to see so many others at the event who were all living with ASD. It is also important to have community events where these families are accommodated because ASD often makes it difficult or impossible for them to attend other public community events. The Inside Out Campaign will also extend this event further and reach up to an additional 50,000 students, professionals and others across Calgary. We plan to partner with all school boards, post-secondary institutes and Calgary’s non-profit and business communities to have maximum reach for the campaign. The more people participating the more acceptance individuals and families living with ASD will feel!