Janet's Story

Why does the work of Autism Ontario still matter after 40 years? It’s really simple. Autism Ontario is extended family for parents with loved ones diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism Ontario matters.

Our family joined Autism Ontario in 1993, shortly after our daughter Grace was diagnosed with autism. Our membership number was 109, hinting at the humble beginnings of this organization. But that was also a different time. When Grace was diagnosed, we were told that the incidence of autism was only one in 10,000, not the 1 in 66 it is today. When you donate to Autism Ontario, you can ensure people of all ages, across their lifespan, are supported by the work of Autism Ontario in every corner of our province.

My daughter Grace is beautiful; a talented artist; is brilliant at puzzles; is helpful around our home; and has a very affectionate, sweet nature. Grace represents autism at some of its extremes. Grace experiences enormous sensory sensitivities. She has gone through stretches without any sleep, meaning that the rest of us could never be sure of getting much sleep either, and with her limited language skills it is hard to understand her needs. This left us feeling exhausted, isolated and alone.

What has Autism Ontario given my family over these years?

Autism Ontario has been our extended family. The friends and support offered through our local Autism Ontario Chapter has truly been one of the greatest blessings in life. The first Autism Ontario event I took Grace to was a movie at our local theatre, and the place was packed. I left the theatre in tears, not because the movie was sad but because I was overwhelmed by the sense of acceptance and freedom I experienced, our family finally found a place to belong.

Donate today. Thousands of families across Ontario have similar stories and you can help them.

You see, Autism Ontario has been with us from the beginning of our journey. Please give generously so that our family, and most importantly Grace, continue to include Autism Ontario as part of our family.

With gratitude,

Janet Culliton




Janet Culliton

PS, to read more about our family’s story, click here