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Awareness day event promotes fun, autism acceptance in 100 Mile House

The entire community is invited to attend and learn more about autism
Kylie Meszaros picks up a big forkful of coloured spaghetti at the seventh annual Blue Sky’s Autism Services Autism Awareness Day last year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Blue Sky’s Autism Services is gearing up to run its eighth annual Autism Awareness Day.

Held each April to mark Autism Awareness Month the event is geared toward families with children who are neurodivergent. This year program coordinator Addilyn Ratcliff is planning to host the event on April 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 100 Mile Outdoor Skating Rink at 485 Cedar Avenue. It’s designed as both a fun experience for family and as a way to promote autism acceptance within the community.

“We kind of feel everyone is more aware of autism. Now it’s trying to be more accepting of autism and the individuals who have it,” Ratcliff said. “The event is a time for both the families who come to our centre and others in the community come and feel like they’re in a safe place, mingle and have some fun time together.”

As in previous years, Ratcliff said the event will feature face painting, a bubble machine, snacks, colouring books, games for the kids to play and a variety of autism resources for parents to peruse. This year they will have a professional face painter coming to paint the kids’ faces and a yoga or dance instructor.

They will also have a story walk set up around the perimeter of the rink featuring the book The Superhero Heart by Christel Land, a sequel to last year’s story walk book The Superhero Brain. The book teaches siblings of children on the autism spectrum how to support and care for their siblings.

Unlike in previous years, they will no longer be doing a walk through the community. Ratcliff said instead they will provide additional resources and access to service providers. She also encourages those without neurodiverse children to come to the event and meet some of the “amazing children” she works with.

“They might even be surprised at some of the things they see. Autism isn’t very well understood because there’s such a big scale. There are some people that are high functions and some that are not. Some are verbal, some are not but and they’re all wonderful individuals that have something wonderful to offer,” Ratcliff said. “I think our families still struggling around town to be accepted. When their children have meltdowns people need to understand they’re having a meltdown and they’re not able to control that behaviour.

“There are certain strategies that these parents use that they know work and to just give them that space to work through those strategies.”

Based out of a ranch in Lone Butte, Blue Sky’s Autism Services runs a diverse array of programs to help children on the autism spectrum and their families, including an early intervention program for the ages of one to six, a homeschool program for those six and older not yet ready for public school and social groups for children over the age of six. Ratcliff encourages anyone in need of their services or with questions about the event to reach out to her at 250-796-2996 or

Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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