October is recognized across Canada as Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month.

Although World Autism Day is April 2nd, Canadians use the month of October to try to create a community of inclusivity. ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that creates communication problems and difficulty with socializing. People living with autism tend to repeat specific patterns and behaviours.

Kelly Bron-Johnson, a member of the board of directors for Autism Canada, says that the acceptance month started here in 1993. She also says that the goal is to challenge perceptions about people on the spectrum and create acceptance. Bron-Johnson, who identified as being on the spectrum herself, says that 1 in 66 people in Canada is diagnosed with ASD.

Bron-Johnson uses the analogy of autism being like a different operating system for computers. “Some of us use Windows, some of us Apple… I kind of see that way with our brains, we are just different systems.” She added that she hopes the month helps reduce the stigma that there is something wrong with people living with ASD.

“It doesn’t have to be a dark and scary time,” says Bron-Johnson referring to the experiences parents have when their children are diagnosed as falling within the spectrum. She added that people on the spectrum are strong and stick together and suggests that the Autism Canada service “Autism Junction” is a great place to start to look for activities, support groups and services related to ASD.

For more information about ASD, you can go to Autism Canada’s website

Or locally you can talk with the Family Help Network, click here for more information