Giving youth with autism the birthday party they deserve
A child’s birthday party can create memories that last a lifetime. But, imagine having a birthday party where the people you invite don’t show up. Or, being the only kid in your class not invited to a classmate’s birthday party. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s unfortunately what many autistic children and youth experience far too often.
Promoting inclusion and social interaction
Research shows autistic individuals and their families experience lower rates of social and community inclusion compared to their neurotypical peers and those in other disability categories. Why? Because young people who are on the autism spectrum have difficulty communicating with others and struggle in social situations — often taking a toll on the mental health and well-being of both the child, their parents and caregivers.
Autism Edmonton’s Occasio program is determined to change that. By organizing inclusive, structured recreational events and regular gatherings for youth on the spectrum, the organization is helping to facilitate new bonds and friendships. These activities give youth the opportunity to develop confidence, gain independence and be a part of a community that they’re proud of.
In partnership with the TELUS Edmonton and Northern Alberta Community Board, we’re funding the birthday party celebrations that the Occasio program hosts for their youth members.
More than just a birthday party
One of the more popular Occasio events Autism Edmonton puts on are their monthly birthday party celebrations. It gives youth the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays in a fun and supportive environment with friends they made and the community they built through Occasio activities. It means so much for the youth involved and their families to experience moments often taken for granted, such as having friends show up and sing “Happy Birthday” to them.
Each monthly birthday celebration the Occasio staff put on are hosted at different venues throughout Edmonton to give the youth involved new, fun experiences. For example, birthday party celebrations take place at virtual reality and arcade game rooms, bowling alleys, movie theaters and the Edmonton Zoo. From pizza and snacks, to a birthday cake, to presents and other activities, Autism Edmonton plans and provides all of the essentials for a fun birthday party celebration.
Showing youth with autism that they belong
TELUS Friendly Future Foundation® supporters are making it possible for autistic youth to develop new friendships and be a part of a community they are proud of. Thanks to a grant from the TELUS Edmonton and Northern Alberta Community Board, Autism Edmonton is now able to host birthday party celebrations year-round.