Safe and inclusive family time – you help make this gift a reality!

family in snow
Monica Richardson, Fund Development Manager, Autism Ontario

 2 minute read - For many of us, being with family and doing everyday activities like shopping, going on trips, and walking through festive holiday markets is simple and does not require a lot of pre-planning. That’s not the case for many families with autistic children. For example, you may need to plan your outing well in advance for a time that’s not busy or distracting. You may also have to bring along a support worker, which can mean additional planning and expenses.  

Over the years, Autism Ontario’s staff and volunteers have established some amazing partnerships which have enabled us to share inclusive events such as Santa visits at off-peak hours, special private movie screening times, Wonderland events, and so much more. 

In October, Autism Ontario invited families to Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls for their annual Pumpkinfest event. Heartland Forest hosted a scaled-down version of this annual community staple, specifically for families of children with autism and other neurological and/or developmental differences. It was an amazing evening! Families were able to walk around the property to enjoy the trail of treats, the spooky tree house, the playground, mini putt, train rides, and so much more!  

Here’s what some parents said: 

  “Such a beautiful event. Very at your own pace and that was perfect for our family. The activities were fun. All my children had a good time. It was a great calm, relaxed event where my autistic son was able to practice trick or treating his way and at his pace! Thank you so much.❤” − Nassary St. Louis 

  “Heartland Forest was such a great experience for our daughter Isabella, who is on the autism spectrum. She loved being able to run freely, dance to the Halloween music, and participate in the trick-or-treat trail. As parents, it was a relief to be in an environment where there was no judgment as to the different behaviours that our daughter has. She could be her special self 100% and the other families understood. The staff at Heartland Forest were wonderful, understanding, and so inviting. Thank you, Autism Ontario and Heartland Forest, for giving our family the wonderful Halloween experience, we are so very grateful.” − Kaalyn Thompson 

 Your donations ensure that we have staff and volunteers in each of our six Regional offices across Ontario, who seek out and foster essential community relationships. With your help, we can ensure that these safe, inclusive events carry on in the future. Because we are involved at the local level, we hear and see impactful stories like these of people and their families living with autism. This is why it’s so important that we can support people where they live, and it’s one of the many valuable ways Autism Ontario makes a real difference. Your donations enable us to do that. 

Each of you is a valued member of Autism Ontario’s extended family. Your gifts have ensured that all people with autism – children, teens, adults – and their families are supported throughout their life course.  

Your donations help our staff and volunteers support our vision of “best life, better world, making autism matter” through advocacy, education, awareness, and so much more. 

With your generosity and kindness, we will continue the meaningful work we have been doing for almost 50 years. You can read the impact you have made in our newest annual report

Will you help us again this year with a donation