About Autism Speaks Canada
Autism Speaks Canada is a national Canadian charity, dedicated to promoting solutions across the spectrum and along a life span for needs of people with autism spectrum disorder and their families.
Autism Speaks was founded in the U.S. in 2005. A year later, Autism Speaks Canada was incorporated in Canada. Together, Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada have made extraordinary investments into the autism community.
Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families by supporting and working with community partners; enhancing resources and services; increasing understanding, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
Increasing global understanding and acceptance of people with autism
|World Autism Month: We celebrate World Autism Month of April and spread a message of understanding and acceptance. Global monuments and local buildings light up blue to show their support for our Light It Up Blue campaign and help build more inclusive communities.|
|Sensory Friendly Events: All year round, we collaborate with our partners to create sensory friendly events so 500,000 autism Canadians and their families can experience special moments together. We have successfully delivered more than 6,900 sensory friendly events like Cineplex Sensory Friendly Screenings, Sensory Friendly Shopping Experiences, Sensory Friendly Santa Experiences etc. We also host walk events across Canada to bring the autism community together.|
Being a catalyst for research breakthroughs
|Autism Treatment Network (ATN): We collaborate with some of the finest children’s hospitals and academic institutions in North America, specializing in multi-disciplinary medical care for children with autism. Two ATN’s are in Canada and are working to develop evidence-based protocols and standards of care for many of the most challenging medical conditions surrounding autism today. ATN best practices are shared with physicians and medical facilities nationwide to improve outcomes for all children with autism.|
|MSSNG: Autism Speaks’ MSSNG is the world’s largest open-source whole-genome database with over 11,000 sequences and new research tools specific to autism. This ground-breaking research can enable researchers to identify genetic influences on autism that could lead to tailored medical care for people with autism.|
Increasing early childhood screening and timely intervention
|Autism Response Team: We provide free assistance to thousands of families with newly diagnosed children to provide timely and accurate service navigation.|
|M-CHAT Free screening test: We provide free access to the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers™) screening test that can help determine if a professional should evaluate your child. This simple online autism screen, available on our website and only takes only a few minutes. Over 10,000 people have downloaded this screening tool from our website to date.|
|Family Service Community Grants (FSCG): Research shows that when intervention begins at a young age, the chances of progress are greater helping improve learning, communication and social skills for many children. We provide funding to other non-for-profit organizations serving individuals with autism and their families. We have funded over $4.9 million to 280 organizations across Canada.|
Improving the transition to adulthood and employment
|Worktopia National Employment Network: We collaborate with autistic adults and other stakeholders to change the odds of employment success for people with autism.|
|EmploymentWorks: Together with Sinneave Family Foundation and 12 hubs across the country, we are helping autistic individuals build employable skills and create more inclusive workplaces.|
|Spectrum Works: We collaborate with Substance Cares to host job fairs to match autistic individuals with potential employers across major cities in Canada.|
Ensuring access to reliable information and services throughout the life span
|Autism Speaks Canada CONNECT: We offer a free online service, to provide access to a nationally curated database of information, supports, resources and interactive community groups.|
|Tool Kits: We have over 40 free tool kits for every stage of life. Nearly 17,500 copies of Autism Speaks Canada Tool Kits have been downloaded by families and professionals offering access to critical information and support.|
|National Autism Strategy: Alongside the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA), we passionately advocate for a National Autism Strategy. This strategy calls for federal leadership and action to improve the quality of life of autistic Canadians, so they have full and equitable access to resources when and where they need them. We have successfully received commitment from four leading federal parties to develop and implement a National Autism Strategy.|
What is Autism Speaks Canada’s position on a “cure”?
Autism Speaks Canada is not looking for a cure. We are seeking research advancements that improve the quality of life for people with autism today and appropriate personalized treatments in the future. We remain committed to funding research, understanding the causes for autism and accelerating progress towards personalized treatments.
Do vaccines cause autism?
Over the last two decades there has been extensive research to determine whether there is a link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The result of this research is that vaccines do not cause autism.
What is Autism Speaks Canada’s position on eugenics and aversion therapy?
We do not support eugenics and/or the use of aversion therapy.
Are autistic people employed at Autism Speaks Canada?
At Autism Speaks Canada, we are committed to including a first-person voice at all levels of the organizations. Yes, we have three board members on the spectrum. They bring a diverse background of professional and personal experiences and serve as autistic voices on our leadership team.
We invite you to learn more about them and their unique stories here. Individuals with autism are employees, contractors and volunteers at Autism Speaks Canada. We value inclusivity and diversity in our work force; as well as respect our board members and employees’ personal decision to self-identify or disclose their autism diagnosis.