If the Yukon seems like a brighter place in April, it may be thanks to Autism Acceptance Month.
As Autism Yukon gets set to celebrate the month, including World Autism Acceptance Day on April 2, it is encouraging residents and businesses to hang lights up from April 2 to 6 as a way to promote autism awareness and celebrate neurodiversity. The campaigns aim to recognize autism spectrum disorder (ASD), those identified as having ASD, as well as the impact on families and support services.
Participants can post photos of their light displays on Facebook and tag Autism Yukon for a chance to win prizes.
On its website, Autism Yukon states ASD “is a neurological disorder that affects how the brain develops and leads to developmental disability. It is called a spectrum disorder because there is a wide range of symptoms and degrees of severity.”
This marks the sixth year Autism Yukon has hosted its Northern Lights for Autism campaign.
“It is a truly spectacular sight to see when so many individuals and businesses hang their northern lights for Autism Acceptance,” Autism Yukon board president Karen Macklon said. “We encourage Yukoners to hang lights of all colours to represent diversity on the autism spectrum. It’s a very powerful symbol of support and acceptance within our community.”
Leslie Peters, Autism Yukon’s managing consultant, said the photos received for last year’s campaign went “above and beyond our expectations, despite being in the throes of the pandemic. I cannot wait to see our community light up the Yukon this year.”
Along with the Northern Lights for Autism campaign, Autism Yukon will also host a fundraising auction on Facebook from April 2 to 9.
The fundraiser will mark Autism Yukon’s first Facebook auction, with participants able to bid on more than $7,000 worth of local goods and services.
Among the more than 80 donations that have come in for the auction are crafts, home decor, jewellery, artwork, gourmet food, gift cards to local business and “all-inclusive experience packages”.
Minimum bids will range from $2 to $1,000 and can be made on Autism Yukon’s Facebook page once the auction opens.
“We wanted to make sure the artists were compensated fairly for their generosity to our cause,” Macklon said. “We offered artists the opportunity to set a minimum bid that would be returned to them in order to cover the cost of material and labour. Every single artisan chose to donate 100 per cent of their bids to Autism Yukon. It’s a powerful symbol of how generous and caring our community is, especially during these difficult two years of COVID.”
Autism Yukon provides a variety of programs and services including, among others: a sensory therapy room, caregiver skills training, family navigation, peer programs and more.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org