Common Myths and Misconceptions About the Causes of Autism

Living with Autism is living on spectrum. It is a condition that affects people in different ways. This April for Autism Awareness Month some WAVE volunteers and apprentices will be sharing their perspectives on common beliefs, myths, and misunderstanding related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Overtime a number of different theories have been proposed regarding the “causes” of autism. Often these theories suggest that autism is the result of poor parenting. In the 1940s, psychiatrist Leo Kanner theorized that autism was caused by “Refrigerator Mothers”, parents who lacked or did not display affection towards their children. While initially embraced by the medical community Kanner’s hypothesis was later rejected as the connection between autism and brain chemistry became clearer. An additional misconception is that children with autism are simply poorly behaved and that they simply require proper discipline. While rules and boundaries are an important part of raising children this is an oversimplification, disruptive or inappropriate behaviors will not simply disappear if an individual...
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Touching and Autism

Living with Autism is living on spectrum. It is a condition that affects people in different ways. This April for Autism Awareness Month some WAVE volunteers and apprentices will be sharing their perspectives on common beliefs, myths, and misunderstanding related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a commonly held belief that people with autism don’t like to be touched. In fact physical contact with someone with autism can incite a wide variety of reactions depending on the individual. Some people on the spectrum are hypersensitive to touch, especially if it’s unexpected or too invasive. A hypersensitive person might even reject certain types of clothing due to how it feels on their skin. Too much stimulation can lead to someone with hypersensitivity experiencing sensory overload. It should be noted that they often don’t have control over their condition, and will need to calm down in a safe and controllable environment. On the other hand, there are individuals who are hyposensitive to touch, which...
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Humour and Autism

Living with Autism is living on spectrum. It is a condition that affects people in different ways. This April for Autism Awareness Month some WAVE volunteers and apprentices will be sharing their perspectives on common beliefs, myths, and misunderstanding related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s a common misconception that people on the autism spectrum lack a sense of humour. In reality though, people with autism can have a sense of humour that is just as well developed as neurotypicals. It’s just often different. Comedian Dan Aykroyd, writer and star of the little known 1984 film Ghostbusters, was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome as an adult. In 2013 Aykroyd said he was inspired to write Ghostbusters by his twin “obsessions” with ghosts and law enforcement. For most people these two subjects would seem pretty disconnected and not particularly funny in and of themselves. But Aykroyd’s unique perspective allowed him to combine the two. Michael McCreary is an autistic stand-up comedian in his early 20s. His...
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Photo Challenge Week 3 Update

This week in Graham’s #30daychallenge we spend a couple days in Ottawa and Victoria where he is spending Christmas with his family. This is going to be a heavy photo post as his so many of his pictures were too stunning to choose from. This week we really start seeing him playing with the depth and detail of items. The colors are vibrant and clear and really speak to the holiday season but also to Graham’s own personal aesthetic. We hope you enjoy and we can’t wait to see you back next week!   December 12, 2016: A holly wreath on my house's front door December 12, 2016: A swing in my backyard covered in snow   December 14, 2016: A view of Vancouver from the plane   December 14, 2016: A decked-out tree I found during a walk in Brentwood Bay, near my grandmother's house   December 14, 2016: A close-up of a bauble hanging from a tree in Brentwood Bay near my grandmother's house   December 15, 2016: Inside...
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A Sad Farewell to Our Students

Today is a sad day. We are saying goodbye to our placement students, Mika and KerryAnne. We had our students coming in everyday for the last 2 weeks to learn all about the WAVE program, our apprentices and how to be flexible with how they communicate and interact with a variety of people. Neither of them had really worked with anyone diagnosed with Autism before so it was bound to be interesting from the beginning! As we close up the second week we can with certainty say that they ROCKED it. Here is what one of our students Mika said about her time with us. My name is Kahmeaqia Pardo and I am a second year student at Algonquin College in the Recreation and Leisure Services Program. This month of December 2016 I have completed my 2 week (70 hour) placement at Dovercourt with the WAVE program and I can say without a doubt that it has been the best, most unforgettable, 2...
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Photo Challenge Week 2 Update

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!! Week 2 of the #30daychallenge is complete for many of our apprentices and we are starting to get some fun feedback in which we can share with you throughout the week. Until then a little bit more about Graham! Hey, my name is Graham Hackett. I'm interested in animation, writing, photography, and music. Especially music. My favourite genres of music are Rock and Metal. My hobbies include playing bass guitar, listening to music and researching Rock/Metal/music facts and history. I also like taking walks, watching cartoons, browsing the internet, and taking photographs. My greatest skills include writing, English, and knowledge about music history and, to an extent, music production. I am great with Rock/Metal trivia! Overall, I am honest, knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to learn anything I can. I have had previous volunteer experience working as a packager and alphabetizer at different record stores, as well as taking volunteer positions at certain city-sponsored events (i.e. the...
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Photo Challenge Week 1!

Photo Challenge Week 1!

Hello, hello, hello!!! We are well on our way in our 30 Day Challenge and our apprentices are rocking it! One of our group 1 apprentices, Graham, shared some of his thoughts on the challenge before he started. When I first heard of this 30 Day Challenge, I was worried about how much I would be able to commit to it; if I would be motivated or invested enough. I wasn't sure how much time I would be able to put across, especially during the upcoming holiday season. I also didn't like the idea most of the suggestions for challenges I came across online. However, I eventually came up with the idea (alongside one of my Wave supervisors), and that was to incorporate a hobby I have always loved: Photography. I have no problem admitting that I love to take photographs as often as possible, whether it be photos of people, objects, nature, or some kind of moment in time, whether it...
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Emma S — Pre-Challenge Refelction

(Image from: lovethispic.com) For WAVE’s 30-Day challenge, I (Emma) am focusing on my self-esteem. I have been given a list of 30 questions, each one designed to get me thinking about myself more positively, and I will answer one per day. Once per week, I will review my progress in the challenge and how it made me feel. The end goal of this challenge is to break old habits of negativity and self-criticism, remind myself of all the things I like about myself (the aspects of myself I tend to ignore or neglect), and boost my self-image.   I will admit, while I’m looking forward to positivity, I’m also nervous about taking on such a challenge. I often worry I’ll miss a day, or burn out when I take on regular challenges. It isn’t easy having to adjust my pace, which is normally to work when inspiration strikes. I’m worried I’ll come down with a chronic case of writer’s block every time I...
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30 Day Challenge!!

(Image from: jillandrews.ca) Welcome to WAVE’s 30 day challenges!! Each month our WAVE apprentices set goals for themselves; SMART goals that they can work on throughout the month that will help them towards gaining meaningful employment or another long term goal that they might have such as bus riding independence, or the ability to prepare their own meals. This time we are asking them to do something a little different. We are still going to be setting our monthly goals but we have also asked them to choose a 30 day challenge. Something far away from the realm of work and focusing on something that they enjoy or something they, well, want to challenge themselves with.   The reason we are doing this in a work and volunteer experience program is that there are a TON of transferable skills that come into play when doing these challenges: discipline, dedication, how to stay motivated when you just want to quit, not meeting goals, dealing...
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September 28, 2016

Hey, this is Graham Hackett, returning to posting the WAVE Blog after a great summer vacation! Today, me and the rest of Group 1 went to our usual base - McKellar Park. While there, we worked on making individual lists of our personal strengths and weaknesses, followed by a "SWAT Analysis" (listing our strengths and weaknesses as well as possible opportunities and threats when searching for potential jobs). After lunch and heading back to Dovercourt, we each took a "career interest" test online, followed by a job searching session based on the results we got on that test....
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