13
December
2021

ASD knowledge sharing Series

SFNFCI kick-started our seven-part Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) knowledge sharing series on October 27th, 2021. After the successful completion of the seven-week FASD learning series in May-June 2021, we asked the participants what other disabilities they would like to have a similar series on, and the majority answered ASD. This learning series is organized as a part of the annual disabilities project 2021-22 funded by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). We have 90 people registered for the entire series from First Nations child and family services agencies, community health centres, group homes, shelters, and schools and colleges.  

Sessions

Date

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Oct 27th

Understanding the functions of behaviour

Nov 3rd

Strategies and Supports

Nov 10th

Learning from lived experiences

Nov 17th

Play therapy and self-care

Nov 24th

Programs and supports

Dec 1st

Programs and services

Dec 8th


Like all the training, events, and programs organized at SFNFCI, we made sure to open our series with Elder’s blessing and prayer. Elder Judy Pelly opened all our sessions till date with a prayer and was available for Elder support throughout the session. As for the presenters, we had Olivia O’Neill and Charlotte Loeppky from Autism Services of Saskatoon present in the first three sessions. They went over what ASD means, early signs and interventions, diagnosis process, functions of behaviours, and tools and strategies for supporting children and youth on the spectrum.  

In the fourth session, we invited two mothers, Jeanelle Mandes and Loretta Snakeskin, in the first half of the session to share some of their experiences navigating supports for their children with ASD and strategies they have found useful. The session was powerful, and participants resonated with a lot of their experiences. In the second half of the session, Louise Burridge Occupational Therapist (OT) from Outcomes Therapy presented on the role of OT, the process of finding an OT, some of the areas in which OT provides support such as feeding, playing, establishing a routine, etc.  

 

So far, across four sessions, we have had 155 participants. They have engaged in conversations with the presenters, participated in group discussions, shared their knowledge and experiences, and asked thoughtful questions. These are a few things our participants had to say about the series so far: 

"Very relevant to my role. We have to remain quite aware of our residents’ sensory triggers and visuals are often used to help assist with transitions”  

“I have an educational background, more specifically in Special Ed. I found this as a great refresher”  


“I was able to identify so strongly with parental experiences” 


“I like the breakdown on the different ways of teaching kids, like washing your hands. It made me think of how many possible steps there can be and the patience it takes to teach kids” 

With three more sessions to go, the series has been well received and we have been getting good feedback from our participants: 

“Please keep this up, if an opportunity comes to do this again, I will register some of my group home staff to participate as well” 


 “Learning what children experience physically when diagnosed with Autism, it gave a good insight into how I would interact with children on my caseloads”  

Great part of the series has been learning about different ways our participants are directly or indirectly supporting individuals with ASD. We have been listening carefully to the questions participants are asking and things they are sharing in the series. These comments and questions will help inform the resource guide that we are developing on ASD for our partners.