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Greetings! Welcome to our new Autism Ontario Blog! I am Ken Robertson, elected and volunteer Board Member and Treasurer for the past three years. I am Indigenous from Secwepemc Nation of the South Thompson Band of Neskonlith peoples, which is Interior Salish. My clan is the Cinnamon Bear, and my spirit name is “Skylux,” meaning Bear Cubs (a name that suits me well because I have an identical twin). I am proud to be able to give a voice to Indigenous people across Ontario.
We on Autism Ontario’s Board want to make ourselves more available to you, to be more transparent, and to act as a bridge between the autism community and anyone we need to reach to ensure we provide the best support for the ones who need it most.
We’re in a time of transition at Autism Ontario. As the needs of autistic Ontarians and their families, caregivers, teachers, and service workers evolve, so must we. To help guide us through the changes, we created a new set of values. The values we’ve uncovered spell CARE, which encompasses what we stand for and how we strive to operate.
Collaboration: We believe in the power of working side by side with individuals, families, and communities to make informed choices about autism.
Accountability: We hold ourselves and others responsible for achieving successful outcomes through high standards of integrity and fiscal responsibility.
Respect: We value equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we listen to understand.
Evidence-Informed: We use and create knowledge to guide our decisions and work.
How we arrived at these values are actually explained by the values themselves. The process began with a mass brainstorming session with all of our staff and volunteer leaders contributing ideas about who we are, what we’ve been doing, what we should be doing, what we’ve been missing, and how to align ourselves closer with the community we serve. Every idea was taken into account, so it was through collaboration, accountability, respect, and evidence-gathering that we crafted CARE.
In these strange times, these values are more important than ever, and we cannot thank enough our Chapter volunteers and our staff all over the province who are working every day, all day, to make a positive difference in the lives of people on the autism spectrum and bring us closer to a more supportive and inclusive Ontario.
As you may know, Thursday, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Although we cannot gather to celebrate the Raise the Flag events with our family and friends across the province, I invite you to join us online to raise our virtual flag.
Stay tuned here for more updates from Autism Ontario, as well as advice, tips, and personal pieces from autism professionals, parents, and people on the spectrum. Our aim with this blog is to keep communication open and be as available to our community as possible. Only together can we make real, impactful, and positive change.
Skylux a.k.a Ken Robertson
About Ken Robertson:
I have been on the Autism Ontario Board of Directors for three years and currently serves as Treasurer. I am Indigenous from Secwepemc Nation of the South Thompson Band of Neskonlith peoples, which is Interior Salish. My clan is the Cinnamon Bear, and my spirit name is “Skylux,” meaning Bear Cubs – a name that suits me well because I have an identical twin.
I am a father of four, where my duties include family cook and chauffeur. I am also a lead advocate and the chair of Four Directions Autism, a parent-to-parent support group for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis parents who have children with autism. As a father of three children on the autism spectrum and through my work with other parents, I understand the challenges and triumphs all parents and guardians face.