2016: Our Achievements, Made Possible by You
Radiant Night Autism Charity Gala is SAAAC’s biggest fundraising event of the year. The funds raised from the evening go towards developing and sustaining operations that serve hundreds of families living with autism. So what did we do with the funding from last year’s gala? Well, below are some of our biggest achievements of 2016, which could not have been possible without you!
With the help of community supporters, Autism Speaks Canada, and Computek College, SAAAC was able to develop a 6 month initiative that helped vulnerable families get on a path to an autism diagnosis and early intervention.
There is overwhelming research that indicates that providing early intensive treatments for children diagnosed with autism can improve brain function, language skills, and adaptive behaviour. In Ontario, to receive province funded treatment, children must have an autism diagnosis. Research states that there is a considerable delay in diagnosing autism in children from minority groups relative to children from non-minority groups. Cultural influence can delay the age of an autism diagnosis and early intervention, effectively excluding children of certain cultures from the opportunities to develop than that of their peers.
In 2016, with the creation of SAAAC’s Walk-In Clinic, we ensured 14 families had equitable access to high quality developmental care. Read more about our clinic HERE
For youth with autism who come from newcomer communities in Scarborough, the problem of inactivity is serious. Physical exercise and fitness are not promoted within the home as newcomers are less likely to be active than the broader population (Toronto Vital Signs Report, 2014). In a Canadian, multi-year research program about school-aged children and youth with severe and complex developmental disabilities, the study found that over 70% of children were not playing team sports and over 60% were not able to be involved in community activities. (GO4KIDDS Report, 2014).
In 2016, SAAAC wanted to create a suite of recreational programs to promote physical activity and play. Our recreational programs included physical fitness, basic sports skills, and dance. Currently, we have 50 students enrolled across all our recreational programs and look to increase enrollment in 2017.
SAAAC provided support to 250 families living with autism across the GTA annually. We empowered families through high quality programming and provided an inclusive space to learn, grow, and connect.
In 2016, SAAAC trained and supported 150 volunteers. Our programming engages communities through meaningful volunteer experiences, which fosters a greater understanding and acceptance of autism. By going through the processes of training, supervision and evaluation, SAAAC volunteers can proudly say they have the capacity to support the the development of children, youth, and adults living with autism.
Your Support Matters
These were some of the great initiatives and change made possible through funding raised at Radiant Night Gala. Help us create an even greater impact by celebrating with us at Radiant Night 2017.