Category Archives: Community

Autism on the Hill

1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Early diagnosis and intervention ensures that your child reaches their full potential.

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If you or someone you know is affected by autism, show your support by attending this event on April 1st 2019 from 12:15PM TO 12:45PM. The new 2019 Faces of Autism’ banner will be on display and autism pins will be handed out at noon. Join the conversation using the hastag ‪#‎AutismOnTheHill‬, Follow AutismOnTheHill on Twitter and Like on Facebook.



Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings – lights up, sound down

Great news for Canadian parents with sensory children. Cineplex in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada have launched “Sensory Friendly Screenings”. This provides families the opportunity to see new releases in theatres with increased lighting, lower volume, less crowds and a designated calm zone – all at a discount!

These screenings will take place approximately every 4-6 weeks on Saturday mornings at 10:30AM. Ticket price is the child admission price for any guests attending these screenings.

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Take a look at the Cineplex website for further details on which locations are offering this service, movies to watch and more.

If you are reading this, take the time to spread the word to the families in your network. Ask them to provide both Cineplex and Autism Speaks Canada feedback on this program so that it will be here to stay for a very long time and increase in scope so that one day it will be a standard offering at all cinemas worldwide!!! Now wouldn’t that be great.

Georgia – Special Needs Services

Parent to Parent of Georgia have put together an excellent database for special needs. Searches can be by categories, provider name or more specific by age, hours of operation and accessibility.

Special Needs Database - Georgia

Special Needs Database – Georgia

Fragile Kids Foundation – provides healthcare grants for equipment, ramps etc. They meet several times a year to review applications so check their website to deadlines.

Brain Injury Association of Georgia – Resources and events

National Down Syndrome Congress – Resources and events

gTrade – is an online database where people may list assistive technology items for sale, donation, or things they need. It is for Georgians with disabilities and their families.

DSM-5 and Social Communication Disorder

Way back in 1840 there was a need by the government to classify mental health which lead to the census including the categories; mania, melancholia, monomania, paresis, dementia, dipsomania and epilepsy. Further developments evolved to the publication of the DSM in 1917, which was embraced by the Bureau of the Census. It was called the Statistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane and was created by the Committee on Statistics of the American Medico-Psychological Association (now the American Psychiatric Association) and the National Commission on Mental Hygiene. The committees separated mental illness into 22 groups. The manual went through 10 editions until 1942.

Today the DSM-5 is short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. It is a classification and diagnostic tool by the American Psychiatric Association which is widely used by various organizations, clinicians etc. in the field to aid in the diagnosis of mental disorders, health care payments, insurance, policy and more. Although this has been developed in the U.S.A. it is very influential around the world, therefore the update from version 4 to 5 was highly criticized.



The diagnoses of Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder – NOS, and Asperger’s Disorder has been replaced by a single category entitled Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The DSM-5 includes a new diagnosis, Social Communication Disorder which refers to impairment of pragmatics and is diagnosed based upon difficulty in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication in a natural context and low social communication abilities which result in functional limitations.

The DSM-5 does have a large impact on the healthcare and educational system and if you are a parent or caregiver that has been impacted by this version do connect with us and share your story, you are not alone.

Autism Speaks does answer some questions about DSM-5 and they have an Autism Response Team if you need further help.

Although the current version is not perfect we do have to keep in mind that we still have a lot more to learn about the human mind, it’s connection to the rest of the body, geography, environment and more.

Criticism leads to debate which in turn leads us better understanding. So although the experts are divided about the DSM-5, lets continue the dialogue.






Special Needs Roadmap

If you are a parent reading this post, you can relate to this scenario very well. You get the psycho-education evaluation for your child and then what? You turn to your doctor and the school for help.

Your child’s doctor can only recommend drugs as a solution to the problem however you know that in most cases that is not the only solution. There is some thing more however you don’t know what it is.

You are not sure how to articulate the problem to the school as you don’t have the right words.

You don’t know where and how to get help for your child.

It then becomes this crazy, time confusing and frustrating journey to find out who, what and where. This could take several years and those years are often the most crucial ones, as that is when your child needs the interventions and therapies to develop those lagging skills.

A few mothers gave up their valuable time and have put together this great special needs roadmap for schools. Read it, it will give you the information you need so that you can focus on getting the right help and advocating for your child.

Ontario Special Needs Roadmap

Ontario Special Needs Roadmap

This is focused on Ontario, Canada however if you are a parent from another region read it as it will give you an idea of the process and you might have something similar in your region. Better still if something like this does not exist, get a group of parents together and build one.

Either way connect with us and we will spread the word.


World Autism Awareness Day: Help Spread the Word

imagesAccording to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder.

It’s been seven years since the United Nations declared April 2 of
every year as World Autism Awareness Day. A lot has changed since then.
The level of awareness of the medical and environmental factors
affecting autism has increased across the globe. In advanced countries,
diagnosis is much easier now compared to developing countries.

This is not to say that things are easier everywhere; the diagnosis
of autism and its management and care are still a big challenge. In
spite of the increase in the level of awareness, the number of children
diagnosed with autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ASD continues to
rise. Experts say this in itself may be due to advances in medicine and
not necessarily proof that more children come down with autism.

Certain facts have come to light, for instance, according to,
older people are likely to give birth to children with ASD than younger
ones. Scientists say there are both genetic and social reasons behind
this. Studies have also shown that taking folic acid or a diet rich in
folic acid in the months before and after conception decreases the
chances of giving birth to a child with ASD.

Treatment & Management

Children with ASD are no different from others. In fact, most of the
movers and shakers of the world of business, sciences and the arts have
ASD diagnosis earlier in their lives. Well known people like Mozart, Temple Grandin and Dan Aykroyd were diagnosed with various forms of autism, yet they went ahead to impact society in very positive ways.

The key to dealing with autism properly is early diagnosis. People
with ASD may find social interaction difficult and have trouble with
verbal and non-verbal communication, but some are specially gifted in
solving mathematical equations. So, don’t give up and find ways to work
with children in the way they understand.

On this day, let us spare a thought for people with ASD and give a
helping hand to parents raising children with the condition by giving to
causes that support them. Happy World Autism Awareness Day!

Discovering Emotions with Zeely is an innovative therapy app that
helps children with autism, ASD and Aspergers learn to recognize facial
expressions and emotions.

In honour of World Autism Awareness Day, we are making Discovering Emotions with Zeely for iPad free in the App Store, so head over there and download a copy today, and let us know what you think!

Socks Stand for Solidarity on World Down Syndrome Day

shutterstock_130699232Hello Spring! May we ask you not to march Old Man Winter off just yet? We can
use some of that cold for a good cause. This year, as we mark the ninth
anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, attention is focused on people living with Down Syndrome and those who live and work with them.

The global solidarity message this year is to keep your feet in lots
of socks. Keep your feet warm for a good cause and let them help to
spread a message of care and enlightenment.

This year’s theme “Health and Wellbeing – Access and Equality for
All” reminds us of why we need to spread the message that people with
Down Syndrome need our enlightenment to live fulfilled lives.

Down Syndrome is a genetic condition, and with the correct diagnosis
and accurate, evidence-based information, most people with Down Syndrome
live normal, active and productive lives. It is important that parents,
teachers and health care professionals know how to help these people
reach their life goals.

with this year’s celebration comes a unique tool that does just that.
Studies have shown that people with Down Syndrome have difficulty

Discovering Emotions with Zeely as seen in iTunes

Discovering Emotions with Zeely as seen in iTunes

processing facial expressions such as surprise and fear. Discovering
Emotions with Zeely is an iPad app that helps people with Down Syndrome
learn to better recognize facial expressions. You heard right – there’s
an app for that!

The app is an education tool that helps parents, educators and
therapists working with children with special needs. It is a unique tool
that collates data and helps parents or caregivers monitor the child’s
progress either in school, in the therapy environment or at home.

To mark World Down Syndrome Day, we are making Discovering Emotions with Zeely free to download on March 21.

You can download the app for free here. 

Don’t forget to share the love by wearing lots of socks today and
remember – “Health and Wellbeing – Access and Equality for All”.