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HomeNewsOne-day autism community clinic coming to Huntsville

One-day autism community clinic coming to Huntsville

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An autism community clinic is coming to Huntsville on Wednesday.

From 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Hands Family Help Network (Hands) will be at Community Living Huntsville, providing resources and supports for those with autism in their life.

Paula Barnes, Program Manager of Autism and Behaviour Services for Hands, says it’s a chance to learn and get help.

“For those who are dealing with autism on a daily basis, it’s an opportunity for them to come out and learn some more, add to the skills they already have,” says Barnes. “[It’s also] for those who have an inquiry of what autism is, or how they can support, or lead towards a diagnosis. Maybe they have that inquiry for their child. It’s an opportunity for them to come and learn more, and to be put on the right pathway towards supports for them.”

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The clinic will consist of presentations, one-on-one expert consultations, and information on local resources. Part of that is teaching parents and caregivers the basics of Applied Behavioural Analysis, which Barnes says breaks down big tasks into smaller steps, and helps children with autism “better engage” with certain behaviour.

“Part of our goal by running some of these training opportunities is to teach parents how to make those small tweaks in their environment or in their instructions, or how they’re reinforcing a behaviour,” says Barnes. “[It’s] how we can make every day a little bit easier for them.”

Barnes says these sorts of clinics can be especially helpful after two years trapped indoors.

“We’re hoping to build the capacity in our families. The pandemic’s been very hard, but the changes in the Ontario Autism Program have been very difficult for our families as well. So this is an opportunity to really help people get on the right pathways to support, and just feel more connected to services and supports locally.”

Masks are required for the event, and people will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms on-site.

Barnes encourages registering in advance, as space is limited. You can reserve a spot by contacting emailautism@handstfhn.ca or 1-800-668-8555 x1333.

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