I remember becoming a parent for the first time and encountering the huge adjustment that all parents go through in searching for “family friendly” activities, places and businesses. However, “family friendly” isn’t enough for everyone.
A shock for many families in the following months after receiving a special needs diagnosis is that a lot of “family friendly” places, organizations and businesses are NOT inclusive or adaptable for people with diversity or special needs.
In fact, when someone from within our community finds that special place that embraces and welcomes our kids treating them like everyone else yet respects their unique challenges - word spreads fast.
For Ethan, I will never forget the day he walked into Lake Country Gymnastics for the first time. He was in awe. It was like he had found his happy place. What made it even better for me was that the staff instantly embraced him as one of their own. As a result, he has thrived in this environment and has developed some mad gymnastics skills.
Now while Madison would have thrived as a gymnast and dancer there too, with her mobility challenges she favours the swimming pool. The YMCA of Okanagan has been nothing short of amazing and accommodating (might I even say, excited) in working with Madison.
These are the #EverydayHeroes in my community that I will be nominating for the Regional Community Impact award. Here in the Interior Region of BC, these organizations have demonstrated a commitment to creating inclusive communities by championing opportunities for community members on the autism spectrum.
But AutismBC wants YOUR nomination too! Who has stood out to YOU in your region? What organization do you promote quietly to your friends that should now be recognized publicly?
Help me by nominating your everyday heroes at AutismBC.ca before August 28th and let’s share the stories while we celebrate the passion, strengths, and achievements of these everyday heroes who are changing the narrative on autism and inclusion.