May 17, 2017

Au-Some Conference 2017

I attended the 2016 Au-Some Conference in Hamilton to learn about the diversity of the autism spectrum. My experience was warm and enlightening. I had the opportunity to meet with individuals on the spectrum and parents with sons and daughters diagnosed with a developmental disability.

I participated in two workshops: (1) Autism at Work; and (2) Self-Discovery and Successful Outcomes. The “Autism at Work” workshop was packed! There seemed to be five different groups in the workshop that were looking for answers:
1. I have the qualifications, but can’t make it past the interview.
2. I don’t have trouble getting the job… it's keeping/maintaining the job that is my issue.
3. My company doesn’t cater to my needs… what should I do?
4. I can’t find work or get an interview.
5. I have a good job and can provide tips/advice and share my experience.

Everyone was passionate and cared about one another. I sat back and listened to the discussion. I could sense stress in parents' voices, as well as the energy and frustration from young adults on the spectrum seeking direction. In my opinion, the feedback and conversations in the session didn’t necessarily lead to the right solution, but instead gave everyone an opportunity to share their challenges and be heard. There were some success stories – but the main solutions I got out of the workshop were:
- Build a social network and get an interview by knowing someone.
- Hire a coach/trainer to prep you for interviews and work with potential employers to ensure alignment.

The “Self-Discovery and Successful Outcomes” workshop did not meet my expectations. The lady who led the workshop found purpose through her art. She sells her art at conferences but is struggling to make a living out of it. It was a great opportunity for others in the session to share their success stories. For example, one gentleman attempted riding his bike from Toronto to California to raise money for autism awareness. This is all great, but I was looking for more of a “living independently” success story. I also had the opportunity to listen to speakers talk about the following topics:
- Sexual health and risks.
- Building your social network.
- Optimizing autism through managing your health and environment.
- Interpreting people’s emotions.

What struck a chord with me most was building your social network. I spoke with at least five different families who felt their child lacked the social opportunities most children experience. I spoke with parents during break-out sessions and concluded that one issue each family experienced was the lack of a younger role model in their child's life. Parents are looking for someone who does not come across as an adult to their child, but instead a friend/mentor who is fun, caring, and shares the same vision as the parents.

~ Luke, Mentor


May 17, 2017

Discover Toronto Outing: Dave & Buster’s

I liked going to Dave & Buster’s because I liked the games. My favourite game was the one where you have to prevent terrorist attacks.

The food was also good. I ordered a cheeseburger and fries. I recommend it to others if they should go.

I liked hanging out with the others, playing a game where we had to answer who played which role in a movie. It was a good outing.

~ Toby, Mentee


May 08, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy (without spoilers!)

Awesome film, star wars quality, filled with LOLs, a huge success. After stealing an orb, Peter quill a human and a group of space criminals escaped prison go on a quest to save the galaxy from an overlord named Ronnan. Movie was surprisingly good when I first watched it and was unique as the comics.

“Chris Pratt really made me laugh so hard.” “If I were to have a pet Raccoon, I would choose Rocket.” “Rocket can be a wise cracker sometimes, but i love him when he’s like that.” “That one phrase gets me everytime… “I AM GROOT!” “Zoe still kicks ass till this day!” “Great scenery!” “Director, James Gunn killed it! (with a lasergun)”

I would rate this film as a 10/10.

~ Matthew, Mentee


March 30, 2017


Hi guys! I LOVED the movie!!!! If I made it, Ethan Hawke and Morgan Freeman would offer five murderers, played by Keanu Reeves, Cate Blanchett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas, and Natalie Portman, a second chance at life in exchange for the death of Susan Sarandon. In my eyes, forming a superhero team out of a bunch of armed and lethal killers is the ultimate rehabilitation. Think of it like a feast: The Shawshank Redemption for appetizer, Deadpool, Green Lantern, and Man of Steel for dinner, and Pacific Rim for desert.

I would rate this film as a 10/10.

~ Toby, Mentee


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