Toronto Star Classroom Connection

Championing Understanding, Advocacy, and Support

For the Autistic Community

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For over four decades, Autism Canada has been at the forefront of advocating for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), along with their families, caregivers, and allies. Utilizing their national perspective through a multifaceted approach encompassing education, advocacy, and support, Autism Canada is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and overall well-being of those on the Autism Spectrum.


With one in 50 people in Canada diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, there is an urgent need for a broader understanding of autism. Autism Canada's Literacy Program addresses this need head-on, offering tailored training sessions both virtually and in person. These sessions aim to educate individuals about autism, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for empathetic and informed interactions. This program is especially vital for those who may find themselves in potentially overwhelming and emotional situations when interacting with autistic individuals. By fostering a deeper comprehension of neurodivergence, the Literacy Program promotes inclusiveness and awareness across diverse cultures, personalities, and backgrounds.

Furthering their commitment to enhancing education and advocacy, one of Autism Canada's flagship initiatives is the annual Au-Some Conference. This conference, written and presented solely by individuals on the spectrum, provides a valuable platform for educational resources and community-building opportunities. Attendees gain insights into the unique experiences and perspectives of autistic individuals while fostering greater empathy and understanding, allowing them to take what they learn to forge more meaningful interactions.


Overwhelm in stressful situations is a common experience for individuals on the autism spectrum. In response, Autism Canada has developed Sensory Support Kits, which contain a range of sensory support items and communication aids. These kits are invaluable tools for helping autistic individuals navigate overwhelming circumstances, enabling them to thrive in their environments.

Autism Canada is proud to house a pioneering Search and Rescue for Autism program, the first of its kind in Canada. This initiative has been instrumental in enhancing autism awareness among First Responders and Emergency Personnel nationwide. This program equips these professionals with the knowledge and tools to effectively respond to situations involving individuals on the Autism Spectrum. By providing specialized training and resources, Search and Rescue for Autism ensures that emergencies are handled with the utmost sensitivity and competence, ultimately ensuring the safety and well-being of autistic individuals in times of crisis.


Care begins in our communities, and Autism Canada recognizes the importance of providing resources and support to families in need. Through email, phone consultations, and an online database, they connect people with the information they need most. Their dedication to supporting families ensures that they have access to the resources and guidance necessary to navigate the challenges in obtaining support and services.

Looking toward the future, Autism Canada's upcoming Community Assistance Program (CAP) is set to revolutionize the support available to autistic individuals and their care communities. This program will provide crucial financial aid, subsidizing the costs of psychological assessments, physical and mental health supports, and interventions not covered by provincial health plans. The CAP fund will also cover respite care expenses for individuals on the spectrum and their families and caregivers. This initiative aims to alleviate the rising demand on the mental healthcare system, offering much-needed relief and support.

For many autistic people, the journey to life-changing support is filled with obstacles. Autism Canada is committed to changing this story and has been since 1976. Donate today and help us clear the way to more accessible support.





Toronto Star Newspapers Limited