Imagine for a second that you couldn’t register your kids in any kind of group sports, dance or physical activity program. How would that change your family life?
If you have a child over the age of four, I’m guessing that he or she has participated in some form of organized sports or movement program. It’s so much fun to watch our kids playing with a group of other children, learning new skills, and finding out what their little bodies can do.
If my kids couldn’t participate, every day would look different for our family.
This is the situation for many families living with autism. Not only are mainstream programs often not appropriate for these kids, but they are costly. Families with one or more kids on the autism spectrum are financially stretched due to the costs of all the therapies the children may require. The first things to cut from a tight budget are activities that are perceived as leisure - like sports.
Our son with autism is able to participate in mainstream sports and he derives a ton of benefit from it. It improves his self-esteem, reduces his anxiety, allows him to make friends, among many other things. We don't know what we would do if he didn't have sports. In fact, we don't know what we would do if he couldn't share sports with his brother and his father (and sometimes me).
My husband and I know that many families living with autism do not have this opportunity even though they wish they did.
So… we want to provide it. To this end, we have started an initiative called Ausome Ottawa.
What is Ausome Ottawa?
We at Ausome Ottawa are planning to deliver sports and movement programs for children with autism spectrum disorders. These programs may include siblings and will offer something for parents during the sessions, be it a place to enjoy coffee and cookies with other parents, or something more formal like a speaker or workshop.
The programs will all be offered free of charge to families. They will be one-on-one for the participants, employing facilitators specifically trained to work with children with autism.
Why should you get involved?
Ausome Ottawa is building a dynamic community of volunteers, sponsors, donors and participants. We are looking for innovators and entrepreneurs who want to get involved to make a positive impact on our community, learn from each other, and get things done. Your time and your support will always be appreciated. We are passionate about sport and its impact on quality of life. If you are too, we want you! Who knows? You may learn something too.
What you can do today
1. Come to our launch party on Saturday November 28th. Get your ticket now or make a donation if you can’t come.
2. Donate something for our silent auction.
3. Share our news with at least two or more friends and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
4. Purchase The Ausome Bracelet as a holiday gift for your friends and family members - and get one for yourself while you are at it. All the proceeds from this beautiful, affordable gift go directly to Ausome Ottawa.
We can’t wait to hear from you. Find us at AusomeOttawa.com.
Liisa Vexler is a health and medical writer who also loves to write about living abroad with kids. She is mom to two active, athletic boys, one with an ASD.