World Autism Awareness Day April 2/2014

I spent much of the day yesterday learning more about Autism.  There is no question that Autism has become a significant issue for many families in our community over the last 2 decades. As a teacher in the 1990s it was clear to me that there were children that had “some behavior issues” but I never remember hearing the word autism used to describe this condition. Today 1 in 90 children are diagnosed with Autism.


Quote from Shining Through  – The addition of statistics regarding the incidence of autism round out the distressing story. Diagnoses of autism are at a record high, with 1 in 90 children showing some form of autism, an over 1000% increase over the levels of 10 years. In addition, the incidence rate of autism is showing no sign of decline, thereby leading experts to conclude that autism therapy and intervention is of critical importance in the years to come. Still, both the cause and the reason for the skyrocketing incidence rates, remain disturbingly unknown.


I had the opportunity to meet and speak to many parents of children with autism last night at the Shining Through Gala that took place at the Embassy Grand. It is clear from hearing their stories that, as a society, we need to provide support for these parents and kids. There were over 1400 parents and friends at this event to support Shining Through Centres. This organization is recognized as a leader in the field of treatment and education of children who have been diagnosed with Autism. Congratulations to Richmond Hill Resident Ted Leider and the committee that he is a part of, for building this organization, putting on this gala, and raising awareness of this issue.


I also had the opportunity to participate in the Autism Awareness Mini Putt organized by the Planning Department at the Town of Richmond Hill yesterday morning. The whole planning department floor at our town offices was transformed by the staff into a mini putt course. Money and awareness were raised again this year by our Planning Staff all in support of Autism Ontartio. Thanks to all of our excellent Richmond Hill staff who participated, and for showing they care about our community and the issue of Autism.


April 2nd has been declared by the United Nations as World Autism Awareness Day. Please join us at 8:30AM for a Flag Raising Ceremony at the Town Offices along with members of Autism Ontario – York Region Chapter.


For more information on Shining Through Centres and the great work they do visit