We are excited to announce that Integrated Autism Consulting will now provide diagnostic evaluations for adolescents and adults who are thought to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but have not yet received a diagnosis or who require an updated evaluation for transition services in Ontario. Evaluations typically last several hours over the course of two appointments (varies depending upon complexity of case and services provided) and focus on issues of diagnosis and transition planning, educational programming, and intervention.

The evaluation includes caregiver interview; review of medical, social, language, academic, and developmenta history; caregiver questionnaires, and testing sessions with the individual. The individual is directly assessed using state of the art, empirically based assessment instruments including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and The Childhood Autism Rating Scale - 2nd edition (CARS2). Results of the evaluation are shared with the parents and individuals, when appropriate, during an interpretive conference. An individualized, written evaluation summary with comprehensive recommendations and resources is shared with the family.

Read more: New Services September 2017

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"He has the ability to make the ordinary extraordinary," I remember thinking. We just need to tune into him and to go with these inclinations, these impulses, these intense curiosities. _____________________________________________________________________________________

"Where do these streets go? What's down there? And over there? Who lives there?"

Seven-year-old Erik has a map of the Comox Valley in his hands, and he is both mesmerized and perplexed.

"Oh, I'm not sure," I reply. "I've never been down those roads. I don't know what's there."

The look he gives me makes me smile now, in hindsight. It is something akin to disbelief and disappointment in one moment, and excitement and possibility in the next. A plan is brewing, and I am about to become a part of it. I wait.

"So," he begins, lingering over the word, working out what he wants to say, "you grew up here and you don't even know? You don't know what's on these roads? You haven't even looked? Don't you want to find out?" The words and thoughts tumble out. Again, incredulous.

Again, autism.

I had never thought of it that way. I go where I need to go. I had never felt the need to plot out and explore the entire town, side roads, dead ends and all. Never. I suddenly feel quite bland, lacking an adventurous gene, certainly low on the curiosity scale.

Read more: ASD SNAPSHOT 7: THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED

Erik and I would like to share an amusing story from Parliament Hill the night before the CASDA summit, 2016. It is both humorous and touching... a real autism moment and a Canadian moment, as well. Autism transforms cops... We make some friends and earn some supporters! A funny moment on Parliament Hill this evening..

Erik and I trekked back to the Hill one last time today so that he could practice his autism speech...

We get there, it is a lovely evening, and people are camped out all over the lawn. Erik positions himself on the steps in front of the Peace Tower, hauls out his Rock Band microphone, stuffs the cord into his shorts pocket, pulls out his speech and launches in.

"I am Erik Hedley. I am seventeen. And I have autism."

Just that moment, I look up to see not one but three RCMP officers running toward us. Erik has his back turned, so he cannot see the approach. He takes a breath and is just about to launch into paragraph two when I signal for him to hold on.

Read more: ASD SNAPSHOT 29: "RCMP on the Hill - An Arresting Speech"

by Matthew J. Lemay

Congratulations! You’ve submitted an application for a job you’re interested in and have received the call to come in for an interview. With the excitement of that however, comes the nerves that everyone gets. And for someone with ASD, those nerves can sometimes take on a life of their own.

I’ve been to a healthy handful of interviews in the past, so here are a series of tips that will help you in preparing for, and being successful in an interview:

Research, Research, Research: You’ve just gotten off the phone from confirming your interview. As excited as you are, this is where the process really starts. Take the time before your interview to really look into the employer. A common interview question is

“What do you know about our company?”

And the interviewer expects you to have an answer. That’s why research is so important. What values does the company hold? What’s their vision statement? Do they have any charitable initiatives?

Knowing this information beforehand can help you to give a better interview, and it will definitely speak to your preparedness.

Read more: Preparing for a Job Interview