Shedding light on autism

MONTREAL: According to the Government of Canada, in 2018 1 in 66 children, ages 5 to 17, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Children with autism are three times more likely to be bullied than their neurotypical peers. Just off the heels of the success of its videos to promote healthy emotional and relational lifestyle habits in schools, the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation, in collaboration with the Desjardins Foundation, is launching three educational videos starring Leo, a puppet with autism, accompanied by a teaching guide to provide children, parents and educators with tools to help them better connect with kids with ASD.

Helping to understand differences and develop empathy

School bullying, especially when the victims are students with ASD, is clearly under-reported. Bullying can have similar or even more serious consequences for children with autism than for other kids, including psychosomatic symptoms, psychological distress and poor academic performance.

Children with autism are more likely to experience bullying than other students. It's important to take action together to change things, explained Jasmin Roy, the Foundation President. It's only once parents and educators improve their own understanding of autism that they will be able to intervene more effectively and explain this reality to other children.

The videos are available on the Foundation's website, along with a teaching guide offering several practical approaches and tips, and a list of children's books that help readers learn about autism, including Caillou Meets Sophie, a story of autism, a project led by the Foundation's honorary patron, Sophie Desmarais.

These tools demystify ASD and answer kids' questions. Children will develop empathy and learn to better understand differences, which will help them foster healthy relationships with all of their peers, said Sophie Desmarais.

Understanding differences is the first step toward acceptance and openness, added Nancy Lee, manager of the Desjardins Foundation. It's a key contributor to children's academic success.

That's why we are proud to be associated with this project and with the wonderful idea of using the playful world of puppetry to promote awareness about the challenges faced by children with autism.

Our union is proud to be associated with this project and a positive approach to prevention, said Line Camerlain, vice-president of the Centrale de syndicats du Quebec (CSQ). This initiative will contribute immensely to creating environments in which all children can develop confidently. It also promotes equal opportunities for all, understanding and acceptance of differences.
(PRN | 1 year ago)

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Shedding light on autism