Advocacy and the Emerging Professional:ADVOCACY IN CHILD CARENames: Alyssa RamsinghAnita SinghAyesha ShujaSaira ChaudharyDounya SahibzadaCourse: ECEP 236 – Sheila SullivanDate: 23/04/2013
Advocacy in Child CarePart AAdvocacy Statement:We need to accept and support those with autism as they provide us with uniqueperspectives and interaction with the world, and not treat them simply as labels of aneurological disorder.Rationale:As a group, we believe in spreading awareness and knowledge to our communityabout Autism. We feel that it is important to provide useful information on how to adaptwith the needs of individuals who have this special need. We are informing potentialcaregivers about where they can find useful resources and assistance to help them acquirethe ability to work with those who have autism. As an Early Childhood Educator, it isimportant to master the skills and abilities to make every child, despite their disabilities,feel accepted and loved while under our care. It is also important for their peers andfamilies, who play an exceptionally important role, in showing the individual acceptanceand support. Children and adults with autism need to feel accepted in today’s society, andwe feel that we should inform people about this movement. It is essential for adults andcaregivers to promote learning opportunities, which will assist children with autism withtheir growth and development. In doing so, we believe that it is vital to ensure that wetake the opportunity to share our resources and findings with our community.Impact this issue has on children, families, the field of ECE and or theCommunity/society at local, national, global levels:• 80% Divorce rates among couples with an Autistic child due to a stressfulupbringing of a child with Autism, guilt as its genetic and due to less interactionbetween parents.• Families place their children in for an adoption
• Employment for adults with Autism is an issue due to low or diminishedintellectual and social skills.• High lifetime support costs for people with Autism because they are unemployedand underemployed.• Early Childhood Educators are able to create an inclusive environment, introducedifferences and create individual program plans for children.• Autism Movement Therapy is helping children through dance to follow directionsand increase social interaction.Identifies stakeholders and how their interests will be affected by your advocacyproject/work.Geneva Centre for Autism: Resource centre for more information, raise awarenessabout their organization, advocate on behalf of them through our outreachCommunity: They will have awareness and better knowledge on autism, they will get todonate to a good cause, our advocacy will increase word of mouthClass: Donate, they will learn, spread the word, and help them to become stronger ECEsEarly Childhood Educators: We will be informing ECEs on autism and helpingchildren feel accepted, give them tips on supporting inclusion, increasing comfort andtransition for familiesPart BIdentifies questions you plan to explore through your research.• What are some approaches to creating an inclusive environment for both childrenand adults at school, community or work?My approach would be driven on several fronts: Education system,Municipalities, Governments and Businesses.- Education: many school systems advocated inclusion in the classroom, whichin my mind is not enough. We need our students to be inclusive in the schoolsociety. The reality is that our students are not part of the main stream. Theyare on their own, in several ways: do not have friends or a ‘real’ opportunityto attend the same activities that mainstream students do such as clubs anddances. They are not accepted – this is a mental health and self esteem issueas well. They are bullied. They are not included in clubs because they are notaccepted for who they are their differences. We need to get society as a wholeto accept these students for their differences. Mainstream society needseducation on Autism and the community. With the increase of exceptionalstudents, teachers have to be taught on specific disabilities. Aides andteachers who are working with our children should be educated and it shouldbe mandated. The unions are too strong. (I can speak to this for hours but willnot).
- Municipalities: Municipal government need to do better to offer activities forthose children and adults who are different, to advocate for better acceptanceand understanding.- Governments: funding and supports need to be offered by governments.Education needs more funding to support our children and young adults;recreation programs need to be opened to service our community. There is ahuge void for young adults. Governments need to help families who are oftenover whealm and financially burdened.- Businesses: need to be educated that our community has a lot to be offered.Vocational training programs – that specifically address the deficits of ourcommunity needs to be designed and offered. Businesses need enticements tohire our young adults and adults.Again, I can speak for hours on this topic. All aspects of our society need to beaccountable for ensuring all people, young and old are valued and can ‘really’ beproductive members.• What are the services and facilities being provided for people with Autism andhow effective are they? (Autism movement therapy).- There are lots of services, but they cost monies which most families can notafford. There needs to be accountability for Autism service providers toensure that they are providing a good service to ASD clients. Anyone can saythat they have this and that, but we need some regulation. Too many familiesare being taken advantage of. We are desperate to find the support andprograms that our children need so we are willingly to try anyone who saysthat they can help. Each town/city have gaps in providing services, thereshould be some method of determining those gaps and finding ways offulfilling them. IBI/ABA is an excellent and effective treatment, but it is notthe only one. We need to address specific needs of each ASD person. Thereare NO SUPPORTS OR SERVICES FOR our young adults and our agingadults.• What are the positive and negative effects of Autism on the community, families,children etc?- NEGATIVES:- The ASD population are not reaching their potential- The ASD population have mental health issues because they lack self esteemand happiness- Families are over whelmed, over burdened and stressed, adding to the cost ofmental health expenses, the inability to be productive members of thecommunity, unable to sustain the family unit mentally and financially- Community could have more productive and happy members, ASDcommunity could help economically to the city’s community.- We have a large ASD population of an entire community who areunproductive, unhappy and costly.- POSITIVE:- The ASD population have a lot to offer- They could get jobs and pay taxes- They work hard
- They are a large voting population (Including their families)- They are passionate and loyal• What is being done to promote autism acceptance?- Not enough• What are the rights of children with autism? Are they being met?- Obviously not they do not have the same opportunities that typical populationhave. They are harassed and bullied. They do not have the appropriatesupport and services in place to help them. Their treatments are not coveredby OHIP so they do not have the same accessibility to happiness, jobs, friendsand social events.• How many people are affected by Autism?- 1 in 90 is the last I heard.• What age does Autism become obvious?- Depends on the individual.• How is Autism detected and diagnosed?- Families, doctors, educators, friends etc. (weird question)• What is the quality of life for and autistic individual?- It will vary with the individual, the supports put in place for that individualand the programs and treatment that they receive during their life time. Onealso has to take into account the strength of the family unit, critical foremotional support.• Is there a treatment for Autism? If so is Autism curable?- There is a difference of opinion among professional. I personally do notbelieve that it is curable. Certain supports and services and programming maylimited the impact of the severity – but I am a believer that you do not loseAutism.• Is serve cases of autism, is it safe for an autistic child to be in a classroom withother children? Or do autistic children need one-on-one time?- Again, this is dependent upon the individual child. If they are cognitiveenough to understand and want to be in mainstream classroom. One has totake into account the cognitive, social, emotional and medical needs of thestudent.Information you will gather through research to support your advocacyposition/issue:We want to research information on autism, statistics, how it plays a role in our society,how families and teachers can help children with autism feel accepted and confident intheir abilities, how to help children with autism progress in their developmentalmilestones and how to promote awareness in the community.
Resources for gathering informationWebsites:• Special Needs Opportunity Windowhttp://snow.utoronto.ca• Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Supportwww.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/• Do2Learnwww.dotolearn.comOrganizations:• Holland Bloorview• Sick Kids• Autism Society Ontario (ASO) – This is now Autism Ontario. New website.www.autismsociety.on.caBooks:• Children with Autism- A Parent Guide• Right from the Start- Behavioural Intervention for Young Children with Autism(A Guide for Parents and Professionals)• The Child with Special Needs Encouraging Intellectual and Emotional GrowthIdentifies specific responsibilities of group members to pursue researchName ResponsibilitiesAnita SinghContacting agency, work on researchsummary, work on action plan, organizepamphlets for action planAyesha ShujaPreparing interview questions, work onresearch summary, work on action plan,prepare a web page for action planSaira ChaudharyPreparing interview questions, work onresearch summary, thank you letter, preparefollow up plan (i.e. volunteering, donations)Alyssa RamsinghWork on research summary, prepare actionplan, prepare professional documents foradvocacy actionDounya SahibzadaWork on research summary, work on actionplan, prepare professional documents foradvocacy action
Part C – Written Research SummarySummary of Campaign for Autism AwarenessOur group decided to do an action plan in campaigning for our topic, “AutismAwareness.” We decided to take this action plan because it is eventful, as well as themost effective way to raise awareness. There was a lot of planning involved and processin doing this action plan.We first began our campaign by discussing together as a group the importance ofmaking this event happen. We discussed about the facility, the time, the date, thematerials, and the information needed to make this event happen.Our group was trying to inform our classmates and students that attend CentennialCollege, Ashtonbee campus about what Autism is, and how anyone suffering fromAutism can receive help. Our mission is to raise money to donate to our stakeholder,which is, Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital. Throughout this timewe informed individuals about what Autism is, we provided information on how tosupport an individual that suffers from Autism.Through our fundraising we advocated, raised money and gave out candies topeople who generously gave us a donation. We gave out informative brochures from“Autism Speaks, Bloorview Child Rehabilitation Hospital and Sickids, fundraised andprovided important and interesting information about Autism.On Wednesday, April 11, 2013 from 2pm – 4pm our group set up an awarenesscampaign in the lab right above the cafeteria. During this campaign we posted a tri-foldBristol board with information on what Autism is and the different examples of Autism
were displayed. We also included a brochure that we put together, which summed up theinformation on the board so that our supporters could take it home.The information we gathered did fit with what we were looking for initially. Wewere looking for information which would give us insight about people’s perspective,behaviour, how aware are they, how much do people support Autism, treatmentsavailable and what is generally being done in the community to help people with Autism.A lot of our queries were answered through the help the stakeholder and through ourpersonal research from books, accredited websites and news articles. Our stakeholderprovided us with detailed, insightful and informational answers for our research whichhelped is have a better understanding of the topic.From our research we were able to find interesting facts such as “30-50 percent ofthe population with Autism goes through seizures”(autismsciencefoundation, 2012),“Scientists are doing research and trying to find a cure through investigating early braindevelopment and functioning, social interactions in infacnts, rare genetic variants andmutations, associations between autism-related genes and physical traits, possibleenvironmental risk factors and biomarkers, and a potentioal new medication treatment.”(ninds,nih.gov,2013). “Studies have also shown link between taking prescription drugssuch as valporic and thalidomide during pregnancy leads to higher levels of ASD” (CDC,2012).The information we gathered assisted us furthering our advocacy position byhelping us having our curiosities answered about the topic of Autism, we feel moreconfident on the topic which will allow us to further advocate for it within thecommunity, perhaps at larger global level. The information we received in our interview
connected with our research findings and our experience in fundraising for the issue wegained a strong sense of community and we feel that we could effectively spread theawareness of issues with autism in the childcare setting.In conclusion, during day of campaigning we had many students and teachers thatpassed by to support our campaign. They provided us with their input on what Autism is.Surprisingly many people weren’t aware of what Autism spectrum disorder was and ourgroup took the time to explain and advocate for our cause. Our group members found thisexperience rewarding because we all had the chance to talk to many people who sharedtheir own knowledge about Autism, and told us some of the ways that they can support/help out individuals suffering from this condition. We also raise money, which would begiven to Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital to contribute to theirneeds.Part D – Advocacy PlanStakeholder: Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation HospitalRationale:We chose Holland Bloorview for several reasons as our stakeholder. To start off,it is Canada’s largest rehabilitation center for children with disabilities. It is aprofessional institution that has a wide array of therapists available to help the childrenphysically and mentally adapt with their rehabilitation or disability. The hospital alsoworks in collaboration with Sick Kids Hospital and Autism Speaks Ontario whogenerally refer patients to Bloorview and work hand-in-hand on research on the cause.We also discovered that Holland Bloorview does have its own autism research centerwhich is where we found our primary stakeholder. It has its own school and daycareconnections that include inclusion with the classroom environment. However, mostimportantly, we chose this stakeholder because they believe in what we believe in –
accepting and supporting those with autism to help them reach their fullest potentialinstead of seeing them simply as labels or misfits in society.Request to the stakeholder:Autism Awareness ProposalTo whom it may concern,We are students from Centennial College studying in the field of Early ChildhoodEducation Program. We are in a course of “Advocacy and the Emerging Professional”where we have the opportunity to advocate for something we feel passionate about. Thetopic that our group chose to advocate for is autism Awareness. We feel that many peopleare not fully aware of all of the different aspects of autism and where they go to get thecorrect treatment that they need.We have already done many action plans in our school and in our community, informingpeople about autism. As a group, we put together a brochure about autism and few localagencies that we feel are beneficial to others when they are looking for resources. Wetook this brochure and distributed it to the parents at the Child Care Centres, in the PublicLibrary and at Centennial College ashtonbee Campus. We also used the social media asanother tool to create awareness for autism by creating a Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/groups/521519797890236/This page includes important information about autism, as well as updated status andupdated photos of what we are doing as advocates for our stakeholders to show that wecare. Another action plan that we did was an autism Awareness Campaign, where wehanded out our brochure, did surveys, played games, sold baked goods, and raised moneyfor our stakeholders, Holland Bloorview.During our campaign, we had the opportunity to spread the word to many students in ourcollege, informing them about what we were advocating for and the reasons surroundingthis issue. The campaign went well and many people offered to donate and raiseawareness. We are also continuing our donation collection in our class for when wepresent our advocacy project to our fellow classmates.As Centennial College students, we have done a wide range of different action plans setin place to help support autism. From our research, we want our children to be cared forin an environment where they will feel comfortable, confident, as well as help adapt totheir needs.
Please accept this proposal as a formal request for us to help spread awareness aboutautism, especially in the child care field, and to raise funds in contribution to yourorganization to continue to develop the facilities provided for children with autism.Thank you for taking the time to review our concerns as advocates for children withautism. We hope that you consider our request.In best regards,Alyssa RamsinghAnita SinghAyesha ShujaSaira ChaudharyDounya SahibzadaAction Plan:Our action for advocacy consisted of a campaign that we held in awareness for autismwhich included connecting with the centers we worked in for field practicum, with ourlocal community including families we know and in our school. We took our first steptowards advocating by contacting a stakeholder from Holland Bloorview KidsRehabilitation Hospital who agreed to our requested proposal to have an interview withus to answer any research or curiosity questions we had prepared. This was an onlineinterview as computer was the best method of communication for her, and she providedus with a great amount of information that helped us to move on in our next steps. Next,what we did was we prepared an information board with interesting facts about autism,general information, and our answers to our research questions as well as our advocacystatement. We also collected brochures and information pamphlet, as well as created ourown pamphlet and held a fundraiser at our school, invited our colleagues to help supportthe cause by providing them with our information and opportunity to make donations.This was a successful campaign as we raised about $50.00 dollars in donations from our
local community. We also took it a step further and did research on autism and connectedthose findings to our interview questions as well as concerns we had from the public; wewere then able to conduct a research summary on this topic. We found this to be asuccessful and effective action plan as we were able to share our new-found knowledgeand our passion towards creating equality among people who have autism, in thecommunity, and as global citizens we hope to also share this with our classmates andteachers and perhaps even someday take action at a global level.Letter of Thanks (Documentation we provided to the stakeholder)Dear Oksana and GinnyOn behalf of all of us, the Centennial College Students, we would like to thank youfor taking the time out of your busy schedule to give us this amazing learningopportunity. Many agencies declined to speak with us due to their hectic schedules yetyou, despite yours, still gave us a chance to grow and learn. We truly enjoyed speakingwith the both of you and we appreciate your help and guidance towards completing ourAdvocating project on autism awareness for children. We are excited to present ourresearch that we have received throughout this time to the rest of our colleaguesWe cannot thank you enough for your time and assistance.Sincerely,Centennial College StudentsAlyssa RamsinghAnita SinghAyesha ShujaDounya SahibzadaSaira Chaudhary
Follow-up Plan:We intend to continue spreading awareness of autism in our child care centers we areemployed at, through our brochures and by word of mouth. We also want to fundraise ona consistent basis for organizations that need the funding to improve their help andservices for children with disabilities. We want the community to see the issues thatpeople with autism face on a daily basis and get them to join our advocacy plans throughour actions and passion for chance. We believe each child holds a special place in theworld and that each child deserves an equal opportunity and access to services, educationand rights.After graduation, we will be volunteering in the summer:On 2013-04-12, at 9:35 PM, "Oksana Romanov" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:Hello Alyssa,Thank you for sending the proposal in. I have reviewed the list of questions and willmake the determination on what we can and will cover this weekend. I will also connectyou with our Special Education Advisory Committee Member with TDSB.COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMAutism Ontario’s Potential Programme, in partnership with the Toronto Chapter andMuki Baum Foundation, provided the Community Outreach Program. This programoffered entire families a variety of activities to participate in together, including art,music, sports & recreation, dance, singing, drama, yoga, sensory activities and virtualreality. This was a volunteer-based program with support from a certified art therapist,music therapist, yoga instructor, body flow instructor, dance instructor, and chiropractor.Dates: November 6, 2012 - March 12, 2013http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.537257669650367.1073741826.124545640921574&type=1We are going to have a mini-cycle of this program in June. Below is the schedule.The dates are:June 2 Sunday 5pm-7pm
June 9 Sunday 5pm-7pmJune 11 Tuesday 5:45pm 7:45pmJune 16 Sunday 5pm-7pmJune 23rd Picnic 5pm-7pmLocation: 40 Samor Rd, Toronto, ON (Near Yorkdale Mall)If you are interested, please send your resume and a police check and other pertinentinformation for community outreach program volunteer opportunityto email@example.com You can also tell your team to submit theirs.
Bibliography"Autism Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)."National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). N.p., n.d. Web.23 Apr. 2013. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism"CDC - Facts, Autism Spectrum Disorders - NCBDDD." Centers for Disease Control andPrevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.<http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.Quick Facts About Autism | Research, Funding, Support | Autism Science Foundation."Research, Funding, Support | Autism Science Foundation | Donations to theAutism Science Foundation support the funding of innovative autism research..N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013. <http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org/quick-facts-about-autism>.