On April 18th, after 5 pm, I left Moncton heading towards Bathurst for the french portion of my autism awareness tour. I was invited by the CFCAA / CAAFC to come and discuss the book with children in school from the ages of kindergarden to grade 3 and have a conference at night for anyone who would love to hear he story.
Once again everything went well. I was amazed at how the kids would be so interested in what I had to say and how curious they were about autism. During all presentations in school, I was presenting the fact that yes, children diagnosed on the spectrum of autism are different, but we are different as well. They experience life in a different way that we do and yet we all have different experiences in our life that make us look at life a different way.
Drawing to emphasize on differences.
I also asked the kids to complete a drawing, kind of like what I did with my son Sam. I asked them to complete the drawing on the right. (Fig. 1) I gave them 5 minutes to complete it. After the five minutes was up, I asked them to bring me all the drawings and told them that I would be able to find two drawings that are the same.
Needless to say that I didn’t. The kids loved this part. I, then, asked why I couldn’t find any two drawings that were the same, then the kids would answer that they were unique, different, original.
After we were done, I gave them another drawing to complete at home (Fig. 2), which I will complete as well and send via email to the schools I visited so that they can see what I have drawn.
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
Cité de l’amitié (Bathurst)
I had a great time presenting in this school. They have put me in a room where there was a projector and The classes would come in to see me. I saw two classes at a time per groups. Had 3 sessions in this school. The kids were curious, the staff was very helpful and I just loved watching the kids being excited to complete a drawing just like my son did.
I enjoyed Cité de l’amitié, it is a great school.
Interview at CKLE
At noon, I had an interview at the local radio station. Sandra Landry welcomed me and Karen Chamberlain from the CFCAA / CAAFC to discuss about the conference that was going to be held at the NBCC that same day. Here is the link to it (It is in french):
Conference at NBCC
The conference was awesome, there were a lot of parents present. Everyone was listening with interest. I broke in tears a few times but they were tears of love and compassion as the subject, Autism, is a real close thing to my heart. After the conference, people stayed to talk and ask question. I sold books, art pieces and made very good connections with the people that were there.
Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Séjour Jeunesse (Green Point)
This small school is very dear to me. In my presentation, I believe that I had almost all the students that were attending the school. I have been made aware that this school was closing next year. Nevertheless, all the kids were really excited and interested in what I had to say.
The kids were so excited to complete the drawing, all of the completed drawings were so original and different. I had a blast presenting to them.
Le Tournesol (Petit-Rocher)
This school kept me busy for the rest of the day. I had 5 presentations to do in this school. They have placed me in a room were art supplies could be found on all the walls and shelves. So I took a crayons bin and asked the kids to complete the drawing while using these crayons.
Throughout the day, I have seen a lot of questions, excited aspiring artists and some kids on the spectrum as well. This school had the most presentation quota for the whole trip, what a great location and school. Right by the ocean.
Friday, April 21st, 2017
La croisée (Robertville)
This school really had a great venue for the presentation. They have put me in the auditorium. Even though there was a scheduling conflict, I still had 2 great presentations where the kids were interested and excited to hear about autism.
Again, great drawings were created during those two sessions. Very excited to send my compositions to that school when I am done creating them.
FX Daigle (Allardville)
The last school of the tour. They have put me in the school library. I was a little stressed at first as I was probably going to have to present without a powerpoint projector etc.. But in the end, everything worked fine.
The kids were interested and involved in the conversation. Met great people and great kids. I had to hand out the drawing to these kids as they didn’t have anything to draw with. But I did manage to get the message across to them.
All in all, it was a great experience. I enjoyed presenting the books in class and doing the conferences. It really motivated me to do a lot more in more school districts. I am already starting to get good feedback from the teachers that were present. All of them are positive, so far.