UPPER CANADA – Today, staff and students across the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) are wearing blue and holding special events in support of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).
WAAD is a designated UCDSB special recognition day and is held annually on April 2. The Light it up Blue Campaign aims to spread awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and to increase acceptance and show support to people on the spectrum and their families by wearing blue.
Iroquois Public School (IPS), Seaway District High School (SDHS), Duncan J. Schoular Public School, Eamer’s Corners Public School, Chimo Elementary School, North Dundas District High School and Tagwi Secondary School are some of the many schools in our district promoting WAAD.
Staff at IPS staff encouraged students to wear blue and bring a toonie to donate to Autism Ontario, with staff participating as well. In the morning, students with ASD and their family members from IPS and SDHS gathered at Seaway DHS for an autism flag raising ceremony. Afterwards, IPS students participated in a school-wide walk around their school track to show support to their peers with ASD.
Classes also read stories and watched videos focusing on autism prior to this special day. Each class at IPS created a puzzle piece to showcase how they can help support students on the spectrum. That puzzle is on display in the entranceway of the school.
“It’s important that our students show character, kindness and learn empathy so that all students feel welcomed and supported at school,” says Director of Education Stephen Sliwa. “World Autism Awareness Day presents a learning opportunity for all students in our classrooms. This focus allows students to develop a deeper understanding about what it means to have autism and how the disorder impacts their peers. I’m proud to see so many of our schools taking part in this learning opportunity.”