As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society

Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society is a not-for-profit charity organization established in 2002, founded on the mission to enhance reciprocal social interaction, communication, imaginative play, and friendships between individuals on the autism spectrum and their typically developing peers. Friend 2 Friend provides a broad variety of unique and innovative programs and services to children and adults in schools and other community settings throughout British Columbia, Canada and the United States.Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society

Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society has developed and currently provides programs designed to demystify autism spectrum and related social-communication disorders and to promote understanding, acceptance, empathy, and mutual rewarding friendship for all children ages 3 to 18. Friend 2 Friend’s Program Guides visit schools and other community settings providing peer education and direct support to help typical children understand “what it feels like to have ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder]” and to teach children specific friendship skills that can help them play and socialize with a peer with ASD.

Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society - Can I Play Too

Their Puppet Presentation Program Can I Play Too? is a unique and innovative autism demystification/educational program designed to foster social inclusion, play, and friendships for children on the autism spectrum (and related social communication needs) ages 3 through 11. The program promotes understanding, acceptance, and empathy towards individuals on the autism spectrum while introducing pro-social communication strategies to enhance peer social relations.

Bryce’s school brought in the Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society’s Can I Play Too? presentation to help educate his fellow classmates about autism and being a friend to someone with autism. Let me start by saying that Bryce is completely loved and admired at his school, and all his classmates have nothing but nice things to say about him, but there is that parent and advocate part of me that wants them to know more about autism so they can get to know more about Bryce, and other children who have autism, and learn how to better interact and be friends with people who have autism. I am very fortunate and thankful that his school arranged for this to happen.

Now I must admit that I was a teeny bit skeptical when I heard that this presentation involved puppets, as I thought it would be too silly and that it may ruin the realization of autism by using fictional characters to explain it. But after watching the presentation, the way they simplified what autism was, the way they emphasized how we all have different kinds of minds, how they showcased excellent tips to being a friend to someone with autism, and the all together presentation, I honestly was quite impressed. I think the use of the puppets helped draw the attention of the children to the point that it wasn’t a ‘serious’ presentation, but rather a fun and interactive ‘learning without knowing you are learning’ presentation. I enjoyed it very much.

Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society - I'm a good friend

It can be hard for anyone to make friends, but it can be even harder for people to make friends with someone who has autism because they may not understand, or may even get lost in the process. I feel like this presentation helps eliminate a lot of the fears and confusion a child may have when they approach someone who has autism. The Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society’s Can I Play Too? puppet presentation introduces you to a handful of characters that help explain autism in a very sensitive and respectful manner while demonstrating their 7 friendship tips to help you become a friend, or even a better friend, with someone who has autism.

I highly recommend the Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society’s Can I Play Too? presentation to anyone. For more information about the Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society, their autism demystification/educational programs, or their Integrated Play Groups model, please visit their website at www.friend2friendsociety.org.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get your pink on!

Today is the 4th annual Pink Shirt Day, also known as Anti-Bullying Day!

One in four Canadian children are bullied. That is one too many in our opinion! So today, Wednesday, February 23, 2011, we proudly wore pink (and so did our website, BubblesMakeHimSmile.com) to take a stand against bullying and show our support.

BubblesMakeHimSmile.com supports Pink Shirt Day

Bullying is a major problem in schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. It doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be.

Bullying Stops Here.

Use your WITS!

W – Walk away
I – Ignore
T – Talk it out
S – Seek Help

The WITS Programs aim to reduce peer victimization and bullying in elementary school children. It is a simple way of teaching children the skills that they need to handle conflicts with others.

Did you rock pink today? Show us! Like us on Facebook and post your pictures on our wall.

Thanks for reading,
Bryce, Tanaya, and Daniel

For more information about bullying please visit BullyingCanada.ca.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Awareness Is Not Enough

“Awareness is not enough. It’s time that people actually KNOW what Autism is. One community voice, one message, millions of perspectives. April 2, 2011 [World Autism Awareness Day]” –Stuart Duncan

Autism Understanding and Acceptance

His message is simple, but powerful. “On April 2nd, 2011 [World Autism Awareness Day], we will tell the world, in one strong, united voice, that we will no longer accept that people simply be aware of Autism. It’s time that they know what Autism is.”

We couldn’t agree more. It is time for an upgrade in Autism Awareness and promote not only awareness, but understanding and acceptance too. We personally believe that if people educate themselves, really understand it, and accept it, whatever ‘it’ may be, that that person becomes a better person for it.

So, what’s the message? An excerpt from Stuart’s blog entry about this reads:

“A common message, shared by all, uniting the entire community in a single voice. That message? Awareness is not enough. People have to KNOW what Autism is. A unique perspective on what Autism is to you. Your experiences, your story. No matter how beautiful or ugly, whether you see Autism as a gift or a cure... you tell the world what Autism is to you.”

Bubbles Make Him Smile was created to Help Bryce Defeat Autism Now. Our goal is to defeat the lack of knowledge and misunderstanding people have about autism, while promoting autism acceptance and awareness by sharing our lives with you and experiences as people who love someone with autism. That’s why we at BubblesMakeHimSmile.com proudly support the Awareness Is Not Enough campaign and strongly urge you to become involved in anyway you possibly can. Please visit Stuart Duncan’s Facebook page for all the details of how you can participate.

Thanks for reading,
Bryce, Tanaya, and Daniel

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bullying Stops Here.

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day is coming up in a week! Will you be wearing pink?

The last Wednesday of February is known as Anti-Bullying Day or Pink Shirt Day in Canada. Wednesday, February 23, 2011, will be the fourth annual Pink Shirt Day.

This event originally started as a protest at a high school in Nova Scotia after a male student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school. David Shepherd and Travis Price were sympathetic to the boy who was being bullied at their school and organized a high school protest and took a stand against bullying by purchasing and distributing pink t-shirts to all the boys in their school. The bullies were never heard from again.

From there, Christy Clark brought the Pink Shirt Day campaign to British Columbia, Canada and in 2008, Premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell, proclaimed February 27 to be the provincial Anti-Bullying Day. “Anti-Bullying Day is a celebration of those who take action to stop bullies in our schools and around the province. It starts with all of us saying bullying is wrong and then standing up for those who become targets. We all benefit when everyone feels safe and secure in their schools, neighbourhoods, and province.” All British Columbia schools have zero tolerance of bullying.

One in four Canadian children are bullied. That is one too many in our opinion! So on Pink Shirt Anti-Bullying Day, Wednesday, February 23, 2011, we will be proudly wearing pink (and so will our website, BubblesMakeHimSmile.com) to take a stand against bullying and show our support. On Pink Shirt Day we encourage all of you to wear something pink too!

Mark your calendar, one week today, wear something pink to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere!

Bullying is a major problem in schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. It doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be.

Bullying Stops Here.

Thanks for reading,
Bryce, Tanaya, and Daniel

For more information about bullying please visit BullyingCanada.ca.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day! You make us smile too!

Happy Valentine's Day

You make us smile too!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Bryce!

Love Mom and Dad xoxo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teachers help our children to grow

We are very fortunate that Bryce has had a pretty amazing supportive staff and teachers at his school and probably don’t thank them enough. The patience, understanding, and compassion his team has, and all that they have ever done for us, we’re just so truly thankful.

So here’s to you, Bryce’s teachers (past and present)!

Teachers help our children to grow

Valentine’s Day is literally just around the corner, and sometimes in the midst of all the love being sent around your child’s classmates and friends, teachers can sometimes be overlooked. I wanted to share the printout of what we are giving to Bryce’s teachers for Valentine’s Day. It was made by Autism Creations.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Saturday, February 12, 2011

BC Spirit Day

Today was BC Spirit Day, the first anniversary celebrations of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games, and we headed downtown Vancouver to surprise Bryce with a day full of festivities of his favourite thing ever, the Olympics!

First stop was Robson Square where we saw Fin, the Vancouver Canucks mascot, skating in the covered, open-air ice rink and watched the First Nations welcoming ceremony and performance with Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolfpack). The CEO of VANOC, John Furlong, the Premiere of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell, and the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, and a couple of Olympians and Paralympians athletes were just a few of the guest speakers at the welcoming ceremony.

Next stop was the Vancouver Art Gallery which had free admission for the day and we saw Vancouver-based artist Ken Lum’s exhibition which included the Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression, which was really reflecting. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the gallery.

Afterwards, we headed to the West End Community Centre where one of the big surprises for Bryce was at. The centre was having a ‘2010 All Over Again! Golden Memories’ event where they had kids crafts, Olympic trivia (which I rocked at, by the way), and an opportunity to take your picture with a real Olympic and Paralympics torch! Bryce draws Olympic torch carriers and Olympic torches all the time, but he had never seen one in person before. We knew this would be something special for Bryce and it was the prime reason we spent the entire day in the pouring Vancouver rain, so he could hold a torch.

We would like to thank the staff at West End Community Centre who were very considerate and generous and let us take a dozen and a half billion pictures of Bryce holding the torch. It really means a lot to us, and you definitely made him the happiest little boy ever in the world, so thank you so very much!

The day didn’t end there. We walked to the Vancouver Convention Centre for the grand finale of our trip - to visit the Olympic Cauldron as it was getting relit for the one year anniversary of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games!

The whole day was an incredible experience and the energy of everyone was just amazing! You Gotta Be Here!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Friday, February 11, 2011

Learn how to read with Starfall.com

Starfall.com is a free public service online to motivate and teach children to read with phonics. It provides exciting a wide variety of phonics games and online interactive books.

Bryce is absolutely fascinated with the learning to read story, ‘The Robot and Mr. Mole’. He draws the characters and different scenes on his magna doodle everyday and has even started reading the words in the story too!

The Robot and Mr. Mole

This story about a robot...

This is a robot.

... who falls into a hole...

He falls into a hole.

... and meets Mr. Mole...

Mr. Mole is in the hole.

... who helps him out of the hole...

"Go up this rope," says Mr. Mole.

The End.

The End.

Now despite the length of the story, it actually goes into a lot of depth giving the reader a chance to click on each word with their mouse and learn how to sound it out, the pronunciation, and for this story in particular, emphasizes how the ‘long O’ works.

I love Starfall’s stories, their animation, and how it’s teaching without teaching, you know? Starfall has a ton of different stories for all levels of reading, including learning the alphabet, in either online or hard copy, print outs (which are for parents and teachers), and even has some apps too!

I highly recommend this to any parent or teacher looking for a fun and interactive way to introduce their children or students to the alphabet or learning how to read at beginner to advanced levels. It can be fun to learn how to read!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My little A+ student

Today I went to Bryce’s school for Student-Led Conferences to see what he has been learning so far this year. He showed me a bunch of his artwork and what his class has been up to in science, social studies, and how he was doing in physical education.

We are very proud of him and what he has accomplished.

Like us on Facebook and watch the video of Bryce’s basketball skills. He’s got game!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today is Bell Let's Talk Day

Today is Bell Let's Talk Day. Together we can break down the stigma associated with mental illness. Today Bell will contribute 5¢ for every long distance call and text message made to support mental health related programs across the country. Let's talk. http://bell.ca/letstalk

As proud Bell customers, BubblesMakeHimSmile.com sent out 50 text messages today to friends and family to help reduce the stigma and raise awareness about mental health.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for anyone facing mental illness is the stigma associated with it. It is the leading reason two-thirds of all of those living with a mental illness do not seek help.

To drive progress in reducing stigma, a new campaign called Bell Let’s Talk is opening the national conversation about mental illness and its dramatic impact in all parts of the country.Bell Let's Talk DayOn February 9, 2011, Bell will lead the conversation to reduce stigma with the launch of Bell Let's Talk Day - a national campaign which will raise awareness about mental health across Canada each year. For every text message and long distance call made by Bell customers that day, Bell will contribute 5¢ to programs dedicated to mental health. (Regular long distance and text message charges apply.)

So let’s talk.

As proud Bell customers, BubblesMakeHimSmile.com will be sending out 50 text messages to friends and family to help reduce the stigma and raise awareness about mental health.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives. (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • 1 in 3 people don’t get the care they need either because they are afraid to ask for help or they don't have access to care. (Statistics Canada, 2003)
  • 2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection. (Mental Health Commission of Canada)
  • Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population. (CMHA)
  • Every day 500,000 Canadians are absent from work due to a form of mental illness. (Government of Canada, 2006)

Where to go for help?
If you are in a crisis please go to your local hospital or call 911 immediately.

For Children:
Kids Help Phone
1-800-668-6868
www.kidshelpphone.ca

For Adults:
Canadian Mental Health Association
www.cmha.ca

Monday, February 7, 2011

Be My Valentine

My Valentine

Be Mine

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In my Autistic child’s eyes

In my Autistic child’s eyes
everyone is equal, everyone is good, and honest.
Social things are trivial, love is unconditional.

The world is a crazy place, but fun to explore.
Textures, water, things that sparkle, light up,
glow, spin, or make sound are fascinating.

There are very few to no dangers.
Everyone is a friend,
and no one ever wants to hurt you.

by Samantha Driscole

In my Autistic child's eyes

It is really beautiful yet scary at the same time how our children see the world in a whole different way than us.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let’s Talk Day

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for anyone facing mental illness is the stigma associated with it. It is the leading reason two-thirds of all of those living with a mental illness do not seek help.

To drive progress in reducing stigma, a new campaign called Bell Let’s Talk is opening the national conversation about mental illness and its dramatic impact in all parts of the country.

Bell Let's Talk Day

On February 9, 2011, Bell will lead the conversation to reduce stigma with the launch of Bell Let's Talk Day - a national campaign which will raise awareness about mental health across Canada each year. For every text message and long distance call made by Bell customers that day, Bell will contribute 5¢ to programs dedicated to mental health. (Regular long distance and text message charges apply.)

So let’s talk.

As proud Bell customers, BubblesMakeHimSmile.com will be sending out 50 text messages to friends and family to help reduce the stigma and raise awareness about mental health.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives. (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • 1 in 3 people don’t get the care they need either because they are afraid to ask for help or they don't have access to care. (Statistics Canada, 2003)
  • 2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection. (Mental Health Commission of Canada)
  • Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population. (CMHA)
  • Every day 500,000 Canadians are absent from work due to a form of mental illness. (Government of Canada, 2006)

Where to go for help?
If you are in a crisis please go to your local hospital or call 911 immediately.

For Children:
Kids Help Phone
1-800-668-6868
www.kidshelpphone.ca

For Adults:
Canadian Mental Health Association
www.cmha.ca