FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Information Source: Autism Ontario
WHAT IS YOUR FUND-RAISING STRATEGY?
Path of Play aims to maintain a very straight forward fund-raising process, both for the sake of the donor, AND the organisation. Our entire program runs on only TWO events per year, and this means there will be no surprises about when and how we ask for your support.
PATH OF PLAY DAY is the driving force behind our campaign, and will always occur on the last Saturdays of April and September. We are asking our patrons for a $20 donation when one these events occur, with the hope that this can be viewed by all as a reasonable request.
We institute this approach because we know there are many great charities asking for help. We want to keep our model for fundraising CLEAR, PREDICTABLE and MINIMAL.
PLEASE NOTE that a donation to participate in Path of Play Day is not required. The most important thing to us is that we celebrate, as best as we can, our enjoyment of play in the most unified manner.
WHAT HAPPENS ON PATH OF PLAY DAY?
By registering for this event, you are sending the message that you support our efforts to assist families that live with specials needs.
Like you, other people around the world will also be forming their playgroups with friends and family, and in turn, helping us to create more inclusive play spaces through our initiatives.
During the event, we will be broadcasting live on Twitch.tv, where we invite all of you to post about your game day on social media. With your participation, we can take those posts, show them into our broadcast, and witness how we have used play to connect with one another, no matter where we live.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), usually referred to as "Autism", is a brain disorder that typically affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment. It is a life-long developmental disorder that that affects the individual's ability to understand what they see, hear, see, touch and taste.
Although the range and intensity of the disability vary greatly, all individuals affected by it have difficulties communicating, learning and developing social skills. People with Autism have to work to learn normal patterns of speech and communication, and how to appropriately relate to people, objects, and events.
Communication - Verbal and non-verbal
Learning in "normal" settings
Marked restriction of activities and interests
People with autism usually find it hard to communicate with others in a typical way and have difficulty understanding social conventions. As a result, individuals with autism may respond in unusual ways to everyday situations and changing environments. Despite some differences, people with ASD tend to share certain social, communication, motor, and sensory problems that affect behaviour in predictable ways, the severity of these characteristics varies among affected individuals but typically include the following:
Communication delays e.g. language development. If the language does develop, it usually delayed and includes peculiar speech patterns or the use of words without attachment to their normal meaning. Some individuals with autism repeat or "echo" verbal utterances made others - this is called echolalia. Those individuals who are able to use language effectively may still use unusual metaphors or speak in a formal and monotone voice.
Social relationships issues. Individuals with autism often have difficulty interacting with peers. The autistic child often avoids eye contact, resists being picked up, and can seem distant or "tuned out", they will tend to engage in parallel play rather than interactive play and can lack the ability to play imaginatively. The affected individual may have difficulty understanding other people's feelings. These difficulties can hinder the development of friendships.
Inconsistent Patterns of sensory responses. The child who has autism at times may appear to be deaf and fail to respond to words or other sounds. At other times, the same child may be extremely distressed by an everyday noise such as a vacuum cleaner, school bell or a dog's barking. The child also may show an apparent insensitivity to pain and a lack of responsiveness to cold or heat or may over-react to any of these.
Ability to Learn. Individuals with ASD may have "splinter" skills - scattered things done quite well in relation to overall functioning - such as drawing, music, math, calendars, computers, mechanical abilities such as working with complex video/audio equipment or memorization of facts with no regard to importance (or lack of it). Many autistic individuals test as cognitively delayed are non-verbal or have serious language delays.
Repetitive movements. People with autism may have ritualistic actions that they repeat over and over again, such as spinning, balancing, rocking, staring, finger flapping, hand flicking, twisting, tip toe walking, and/or hitting self, etc. This individual can be aggressive towards others; obsessive about patterns; repetitive; demand strict routines. They may display repetition by following the same route, the same order of dressing, or the same schedule every day, etc. If changes occur in these routines, the preoccupied child or adult usually becomes very distressed.
Marked restriction of activity and interests. People with ASD often have a restricted pattern of interests and may display odd habits: they may talk about or focus obsessively on only one thing, idea, activity, or person. Sometimes these habits or interests are unusual or socially inappropriate.
HOW DOES AUTISM AFFECT BEHAVIOUR?
In addition to language and socialisation hurdles, people with autism often experience hyperactivity or unusual passivity in relating to parents, family members, and other people. Behaviour challenges range from mild to very severe and can take the form of highly unusual, aggressive, and in some cases, even self-injurious conduct.
In its milder form, autism resembles a learning disability. Usually, however, even people who are only mildly affected struggle, due to deficits in the areas of communication and socialization.
CAN AUTISTIC INDIVIDUALS BE HELPED?
And that's where Path of Play comes in.
Our Family Game Day Program is centred on offering a free-play environment. With the support of professionals onsite, we can accommodate our guests in a manner that focuses letting them explore at their pace. What comes out of this approach, is an inclusive space where acceptance and understanding can co-exist. It becomes a wonderful therapeutic outlet for families living with autism, and also, an effective awareness tool for families who attend as a support group.
Many people with autism can become more responsive to others as they learn to understand the world around them. Some of the "symptoms" often associated with autism may lessen as a child gets older; others may disappear altogether. With appropriate intervention, many of associated behaviours can be positively changed, even to the point in some cases, that the child or adult may appear to the untrained person to no longer have autism. The majority of children and adults will, however, continue to exhibit some manifestations of autism to some degree throughout their entire lives.
Evidence shows that early intervention results in dramatically positive outcomes for young children with autism. While various pre-school models emphasize different program components, all share an emphasis on early, appropriate, and intensive educational interventions for young children. Instruction for children with autism typically includes:
some degree of inclusion, mostly behaviourally-based interventions
programs which build on the interests of the child
extensive use of visuals to accompany instruction
highly structured schedule of activities
parent and staff training
Studies show that all people who have autism can improve significantly with proper instruction. Because of the spectrum nature of autism and the many behaviour combinations which can occur, no one approach is effective in alleviating symptoms of autism in all cases.
WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE BREAKDOWN
FOR PATH OF PLAY?
Our percentage breakdown works as follows:
70% of all funds raised serves our charity mandates directly.
15% supports our administration expenses.
15% is reserved for operational costs that we deem to not be associated directly with the charity. It's VERY easy to hide this component. We choose to be transparent with these costs instead.
In past, we attempted to operate with 80% reserved for our initiatives, but because we are still in our infancy, that breakdown was simply not sustainable.
As we grow, however, these percentages will change in favour our charity efforts.