Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck proclaimed April 2, 2017 to be Autism Spectrum Disorder day in the territory’s capital during a city council meeting Monday night.
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The announcement came after the NWT Autism Society requested the city mark an Autism Awareness Day to promote mindfulness about the disorder.
“This year we will concentrate of awareness and education, because we need to remove the stigma and myths that surround autism,” Jennifer Winsor, a representative from the society’s board, told councilors.
“As a city council you can help by involving us in decisions and plans. We are here to work together and make programs accessible for all so that designs and policies are not restrictive or create barriers, and to bring the perspective of autism to the table.”
April 2 also marks World Autism Awareness Day.
Autism effects one in 68 children, and those on the spectrum experience challenges with communication, repetitive behaviour and social interaction.
“Many of these people live in Yellowknife and extend throughout the territory,” Heyck said.
He added that those challenges limit people’s daily lives in many areas, including education, employment, accessibility supports and income security.
“For many people living on the spectrum, these areas remain exclusive and inaccessibly,” he said.
“The City of Yellowknife is committed to creating an accessible, inclusive and diverse community by supporting activities and programs that raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder and the issues that concern people living on the spectrum and their families.
“It is through education and awareness that we help to create more diverse, healthy and inclusive communities.”