Finding comfort within a social setting can become one of the greatest challenges for autistic people, and in just over a year, we have learned that this is an area where we can help.
We want Path of Play to exude the idea that everyone should feel welcome when participating in the hobbies they enjoy. And, we want it to serve those who perhaps never considered play as a therapeutic outlet. This was our first and perhaps most important discovery when it came to families living with autism. Now, we have the opportunity to extend beyond the autism realm and reach out to others who struggle to feel a sense of inclusion at times within their gaming spaces.
Our charity work for Path of Play operates on a trickle-down model, serving a number of mandates. As initiatives are prioritized and fulfilled, the funds leftover will then be moved into accomplishing our next prioritized objective.
These initiatives for our organisation exist because of the generosity of our supporters, and without that, we would not be able to see these projects through.
Below is an outline of what these mandates are.
FAMILY GAME DAY
This is the heart and soul of Path of Play.
Our Family Game Day events operate on the foundation that young people with special needs can excel in a free-play and inclusive environment.
And so, this initiative is designed to reach out to families that are looking for an outlet, where their child can have a chance to build on their social skills without judgement.
Therapists from autism centres specifically, participate in these events to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone. This in turn, also gives parents an opportunity to enjoy the gaming space we provide during the event.
The doors for this project are also open to those not impacted by special needs, which can allow for awareness to be a layer within the main goal of seeing everyone playing together and having fun.
It's a simple but essential aspect of our vision, and it reminds us that no matter who we are, we should ALL find time to play.
BOARD GAME DISTRIBUTION
We take great pride in our knowledge base of modern-day board games. It allows us to share niche games with therapy centres and families in a way that provides more engaging and gratifying play experiences.
This year, we forecast that we will be able to distribute games to at least 50 sites, which in turn will expose 3,000 families to our gaming programs. In addition to providing the games, we will also be producing video content on our YOUTUBE channel, aimed to educate people on how to adjust a game, should there be any challenges with rules retention.
The back half of 2019 is when we plan to roll out our subsidy efforts. These programs could be any universal need where we can provide relief to a family.
Examples of support would be offering weighted blankets to help control anxiety in children, private swimming lessons, or communication apps for non-verbal individuals.
Therapy centres around the world will help us to connect with families and serve as a liaison, to ensure that these avenues of support can be trusted by the family receiving assistance.
For 2019, we will be airing two new podcasts, one of which is already being released.
The Game of Autism is aimed for families who have found themselves at day one of diagnosis. There is a massive gap of outreach to these families, and this podcast will collect a series of conversations with those who have been living with autism for quite some time. It's a "diary-esque" program that uses these interactions to help circumvent the sense of isolation families can feel when they realize their child may be autistic.
We know that a program like this cannot address the dynamic needs of autistic individuals directly, but we at least hope this podcast can be something to help families navigate the journey.
The Path of Play Report is our second podcast that gives our supporters insight into everything that is happening at Path of Play HQ.
Transparency is something we value greatly, and this is where you can be kept apprised of everything that is going on with the organisation.
TWITCH AND YOUTUBE
When the hard work is done, then it's time to have a little fun of our own....and you're invited!
We play a LOT of video games and pinball on our Twitch and YouTube channels...AND we would love to have you join us. Whether it's an online party game that you can play on your smartphone from home, good 'ol first-person shooters, or a night of GAMER-LYMPICS there is something here for everyone.
We also stream for The Professional Amateur Pinball Association, and once a week, our executive director Mike Primeau plays Nintendo games with his son Luke. You are most certainly welcome to tune in and be a part of the live conversation for any of these live productions.
Over the course of 2019, Luke's gaming sessions will be compiled into highlight packs, as a measure of creating further awareness and education about living with autism, and how different forms of play can be therapeutic in the most wonderful way.
So JOIN US!