When it comes to autism awareness, I feel strongly that one of the biggest hurdles for people
with autism and their families is society's knowledge, or lack thereof, of autism.
That is why I have moved from focusing on autism awareness to autism acceptance.
IT IS ONE THING TO BE AWARE; IT IS ANOTHER THING TO ACCEPT
I have made it part of my mission to provide knowledge and practical information
to anyone interested in learning what autism is, how it affects individuals and families,
and what the World may look like through the eyes of an autistic person.
I strive to share the actual reality of those navigating their autism journey. I have partnered with
Elena Jennifer Montecalvo, to offer various learning opportunities.
Through working together, our hope is to move from awareness, to acceptance, to inclusion.
ELENA JENNIFER MONTECALVO
Autism Awareness Advocate, Mom and Volunteer
I am a high school ESL teacher, but my most important role is being a mother. Before having children, I used to think I would have so much to teach them, but the greatest lesson I have learned is that they have so much to teach me. That is especially true about my eldest, Giancarlo, who is on the autism spectrum. Since his diagnosis I have had to question so many of my previous belief systems and my ways of doing things. I have done research, read literature by experts, attended several conferences, but my most valuable lesson has been to trust my instincts regarding what is best for my son. I know all too well what it means to stand up against cultural norms, broken school systems, wait lists, and other challenges that other parents face. I also know about losing yourself in the process. I know, too, about the sheer joy in the daily victories, regardless of how small.
For the past 5 years, I have volunteered in various schools, educating students through different awareness campaigns, and in 2019, my children and I were ambassadors for Autism Speaks Canada. It is an honor to collaborate with Uni-Diversity, because we share the same values regarding the importance of education, awareness, acceptance, and everyone's ability to succeed given the right conditions. Everyone. Parents too!
I look forward to continuing to share my experiences with students and parents alike, whether it be to teach, inspire, or simply to be a voice reminding you that you are not alone, and this journey, albeit a challenging one, can lead to beautiful things - especially with Uni-Diversity to guide you!