All posts by Sarah Drew

About Sarah Drew

Hello! I am the Founder and CEO of Every1Games.

Luigi's Restaurante created by Devonttaie Summer 2015

Save Your Spot in Toronto Summer Programs

Subsidies are available!

We are offering up to 4 weeks of creative skills development programs for autistic and neurodivergent youth in Toronto and Niagara. For information about programs based in Niagara contact us.

Don’t spend summer days alone playing games. Come to Every1Games and add to your skills set instead! Our programs are ideal for students with disabilities interested in practicing digital media design or computer science. Get serious about a future in games or join us just for fun in the low-anxiety, judgement free, neurodiverse community.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore different types of production tools in a low anxiety environment to develop social, technical and professional skills. These programs are great for beginners and for people who want to practice using the software without the pressure of grades.

Join us at George Brown College School of Design to become familiar with the fundamental tools and practices to design and develop digital media, gaming environments, music and videos. (Content will vary based on participant interests). Work with autistic advocates, mentors, and experienced digital media artists and game designers.

If you are new to Every1Games our summer programs are a great place to start becoming familiar with who we are and how we can work together to help you meet your goals. If you are a current student in art or media design, join us to strengthen your portfolio and gain experience.

Contact us! 
Subsidies, discounts and payment plans are also available for participants.  For more information please contact Program Manager Cameron Cubitt at (289) 990-9057 or at cameron@every1games.ca.

Week 1: Intro to Digital Media (GAME TS0116)
July 18, 2016 – July 22, 2016 (Monday to Friday)
Cost $450 (before discounts and subsidies)
Participants will learn about different programs that will allow them to design their own gaming art. Some of the programs will include Adobe Suite, 3DS Max and Animation.

Week 2: Panorama and Portfolio (GAME TS0216)
July 25, 2016 – July 29, 2016 (Monday to Friday)
Cost $450 (before discounts and subsidies)
Participants will be learning how to convert their gaming ideas into a portfolio or game demo over the course of the week. This program is intended to inform participants about what is needed when applying for a job with a gaming studio.

Week 3: Industry and Streaming in Digital Media (GAME TS0316)
August 2 – August 5, 2016 (Tuesday to Friday)
Cost $400 (before discounts and subsidies)
Participants will learn the tools and business of recording and streaming of video game media and will have the opportunity to interact with local game studios.

Week 4: Studio Environment (GAME TS0416)
August 8, 2016 – August 12, 2016 (Monday to Friday)
Cost $450 (before discounts and subsidies)
Participants will design a game as a group using Unity while learning about project management, compromising and planning and meeting the required deadlines for
the project. Groups that started their project in Week 3 will continue their from where they left off.

Classrooms will be supported with a 1:3 staff to student ratio. Programs will start at 10AM and conclude at 4PM. All four weeks will take place at the George Brown College St. James Campus which is located at 341 King Street East in Toronto, Ontario.

Registered participants will receive further details about the classroom closer to the start of all four programs.

Discounts and Subsidies

Autism Ontario Members receive $100 discount!

If you have an autism diagnosis and are between the age of 12 and 18, the Potential Programme provides a subsidy to help you pay for this opportunity! Over 18? No worries, thanks to Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter you may also be eligible for a subsidy that will be discounted on your invoice.

Create your Every1Games profile and contact us. We are here to help. Please note there is no proof of diagnosis required to participate in Every1Games programs.

GBC-LOGO


Every1Games New Logo Blue Header PSINC


Potential Programme Logo


Toronto

 

Creative Production (CREA0416) Registration Closes March 31

Subsidies are available!

Every1Games Spring Creative Production program starts April 2nd at George Brown College School of Design. Become familiar with the fundamental tools and practices to design and develop digital objects in 3D, virtual environments, music and videos (content will vary based on participant interests).

Learn computer software like  Autodesk 3DS Max, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5, tools used by professional designers.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore different types of production tools in a low anxiety environment to develop social, technical and professional skills. This program is great for beginners and for people who want to practice using the software in a low-anxiety learning environment. If you are new to Every1Games its a great place to start becoming familiar with who we are and how we can work together to help you meet your goals. If you are a current student in art or media design give our Spec OPS program a try and join us to strengthen your portfolio and gain experience.

If you have an autism diagnosis and are between the age of 12 and 18, the Potential Programme provides a subsidy to help you pay for this opportunity! Over 18? No worries, thanks to Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter you are also eligible for a subsidy that will be discounted on your invoice. Become a Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter member and be sure to fill out your Every1Games profile so that we can apply discounts and subsidies automatically when you sign up for a program. Please note there is no proof of diagnosis required to participate in Every1Games programs.

GBC-LOGO


Every1Games New Logo Blue Header PSINC


Potential Programme Logo


Toronto


George Brown College Logo and Pic of 341 King St E

March Break 2016 Toronto – Registration Closes March 7

Every1Games’ March Break  2016 Toronto is a fun and interesting mix of learning about digital media from different perspectives. From movies and TV to interactive games, from consumer to producer, this March Break we invite autistic youth to join us on various trips  to explore interactive digital media (ages 12 – 25).
All days and start and end at George Brown College School of Design, 341 King St. E, Toronto (10am – 4pm).


rainbowcinema

Trips include Collaborative Workspaces in Toronto, the Rainbow Cinemas and more!
Contact Every1Games
Sign Up Now
Learn more about the March Break 2016 Niagara Program

Every1Games Niagara Facilitator leading a tutorial on classroom computer

March Break 2016 Niagara – Registration Closes March 7th

Join Every1Games for our March Break 2016 Game Design program in Niagara from March 14 to March 18 2016 to learn how to design your own video game using Game Maker 8
software available to download at home at yoyogames.


YoYo Games Logo

Participants will practice how to brainstorm ideas for game making, create their own Game Design Document and learn about formatting and design while making friends with other neurodivergent creators (ages 12 – 25).
This program will be at the DSBN Academy, home of the Every1Games Encore after school program!
Contact Every1Games
Sign Up Now
Learn more about the March Break 2016 Niagara Program

Every1Game 5 Amazing Strategies to Change Ableist Culture

5 Amazing Strategies to Change Ableist Culture

Helping Creators Create Change!

Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, is an amazing effort to help neurotypical children learn more about their autistic peers but the responses from autistic advocates are not all positive, and for precisely that reason. As Erin Human points out in her blog post Not in Love with Julia, “it’s all about autistic kids, but it’s not for them”. Human is a blogger who writes about the deeper messaging,  the ableist messaging that needs to be addressed, in an effort towards social change.

Since the launch of Sesame Streets’ autism resources I’ve been experiencing #seeamazing for myself. I’ve watched the videos of the different parents and children at home, at school and in the playground, read the resources and watched the responses flow on social media. I have no doubt that Sesame Street’s brand power will help to change to world. But its important to also provide the criticism that will help the public have an understanding of ableism and help creators avoid an ableist message. That’s why I’ve decided to use Erin Human’s blog post and Sesame Street’s See Amazing as inspiration to write… 5 amazing strategies to help creators change ableist culture.

First some personal context and background! In 2012 I had an opportunity to meet theEvery1Games CEO Sarah and Murray Monster Muppet folks from Sesame Street while working with the video game studio Game Pill in Toronto.  I was was excited to hear that Sesame Street, well known for representing cultural and social difference in children’s media and entertainment, was going to be making something for my autistic friends! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to offer my allied expertise and chat about neurodiversity and the advocacy groups that were influencing what would soon become Every1Games. In 2014, after establishing our awesome skills development programs, Every1Games hosted the first Autism Friendly Unconference where one of the most popular sessions was Autism in the Media, discussing the representation of autism on screens. I asked, should we be asking creators for more autistic characters, and what could that look like? One participant had us consider that most characters representing a minority group are shallow representations of stereotypes that further stigmatize people. This was something I feared when Sesame Street started talking about an autistic character and what I thought Erin Human was going to be addressing in her blog. But its not. She is addressing ABLEISM. Not Julia’s character. I really like Julia, she is a smart, female, autistic character who likes to sing and play. I am very excited to see what adventures she will have.

See 5 Amazing Strategies to Change Ableist Culture

1. Consult with Autistic Advocates - every1games

14 different organizations are listed as advisors for Sesame Streets resources. This is a good number of perspectives to consider. But in the face of social change it has to be acknowledged that current perspectives are in need of change. Just because an organization has autism in its name, or is really popular, does not mean it is a good resource. Be sure you are speaking with advocates that can help you understand neurodiversity and ableism.

2. Parents are important resources, but not always. - every1games

Sesame Street’s autism resources was intended for communities with children ages 2 to 5, offering families ways to “overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities”. As a result, the resources are actually mostly for parents, not for children (and I have a feeling that this was influenced by parents who were a part of the initiative). Sesame Street has used a number of videos that Human describes as “classic complaining parents”. Parents play a significant role in the public understanding of autism and changing ableist culture.

They are also the crux of Jim Sinclair’s “Don’t Mourn For Us” (1993) that spurred a revolution and generation of advocates.  To better explain, I found a quote I like that might help readers understand what advocates are fighting for… “We need to go to a world that finding out your child is autistic is no more tramatic or horrible or scary than finding out your child is gay (yes, I realize some people don’t have parents that can accept LGBT people – but that’s changing and the next generation will have an easier time, until one day no child is rejected on the basis of LGBT identity).

Human points out “there is a time and place to talk about how hard parenting your autistic kids can be, and it’s the same place you talk about how hard parenting your typical kids can be, how hard your marriage can be, how hard your friendships can be – privately, with trusted friends and family.” Though I value media for expressing all types of narratives, I still strongly believe she is right. I see the result of parents who will not stop trying to normalize their child, the guilt, the negative emotional effects of the children who are now grown up and are still thinking they have been a burden on their parents, or still are a burden.

3. Understand Ableism and Neurotypical Social Conventions - every1games

Okay, this may require some explaining too, especially if this is your first resource about ableism at this given point in history. Let’s use eye contact as an example. Eye contact is a social convention that can have different meanings across different cultures, but here we talk about eye contact as something non-autistic people do, and expect, that an autistic person might not do. Making autistic children learn to look people in the eye only has one purpose, making them do what neurotypical people do, despite the physical, emotional and social distress it may cause the autistic child. Can you see the problem here? This is seen over and over again in the video resources Sesame Street has put together.

Yesenia being restrained

“She doesn’t like the way the brush feels”

Here is an example! Why are Yesenia’s sisters physically restraining her so that her parents could brush her teeth and hair? This is something that Yesenia is going to watch and remember. This is not appropriate anymore. We need better products and services, like hair brushes that do not have teeth, dental care that is not intense and burning, etc. We are in need of love, innovation and understanding that will help children like Yesenia take care of her physical health without being restrained.

Barber James Williams lies on floor to give autistic boy a haircut

A PERFECT EXAMPLE! This awesome barber (above), James Williams, who is currently going viral for being accommodating and understanding while giving a 3 year old autistic child a hair cut.

4. Mix IPL and PFL - every1games

People with autism? Autistic people? We have been asked many times what is the proper terminology when talking about autism. It is also the very first thing I noticed when meeting Julia. Sesame Street used PFL also know as “Person First Language”. When you hear some say that a child “HAS” autism its PFL. Most autistic advocates do not like this. It is offensive to many and that is why at Every1Games we use IFL also known as “Identity First Langauge”, or as user kategladstone commented “Inclusion First Language” which I also like. But lots of people believe that PFL is just as good as IFL if used in a positive affirming way. You can see this in the comments of Humans blog, and I have pasted a few resources below that speak to why IFL is important to change with way autism is perceived. The good news is Sesame Street got the message and is now using IPL and PFL!

5. Partner with the Public - every1games

Keep Amazing Going! Sesame Street is encouraging everyone to share stories, pictures, and videos on social media using #SeeAmazing! This is what I think will have the most influence and will help change the world. The staff at Sesame Street are listening to the feedback from advocates, responding with glee and appreciation for the insight!

In the face of social change it has to be acknowledged that current perspectives are indeed in need of change. Be mindful of what is being shared. I think we will see a conversation that will lead to the understanding of autism and the non ableist culture we are all working towards.

We can learn a lot from Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, and the responses from the advocacy community. All things considered,  what we love most about media is that anything is possible! Creators have an opportunity to develop autistic characters,  narratives, and resources, that have depth and challenge stereotypes. I hope that this has been helpful as you consider what stories you want to share!

Blog Post By Sarah Drew

Resources Cited!

Human, Erin. “Not in Love with Julia.” Personal Blog. eisforerin.com/2015/10/23/not-in-love-with-julia, WordPress, October 23 2015. Accessed 11/3/2015.

Joel. “Don’t Mourn For Us. Even as a Phase.” Personal Blog. http://evilautie.org/2014/03/31/dont-mourn-for-us-even-as-a-phase, WordPress,  March 31, 2014. Accessed 11/3/2015.

http://autism.sesamestreet.org/

.

 

Autism Friendly Logo

2nd Annual Autism Friendly Unconference; Life After High School

AFU header

Every1Games invites you to Autism Friendly, a free event that brings together people to share questions, answers, and experiences related to autism.

If you’re autistic or neurodivergent and are willing to share something of your experience, or just want to meet informally with others, come on along. If you have questions or can offer a perspective on what it means to be autistic, join us at George Brown College on Saturday Aug 15 (10:00am – 4:00pm) to participate in Autism Friendly.

Participants of last years AFU were clear that Ontario’s support system needs improvement especially in the area of employment training and ASD sensitivity from co-workers. The autistic youth at the event were very clear, asking employers for guidance and understanding, instead of doubt and low expectations.

This years event aims to provide a more in depth discussion surrounding higher education and employment to identify issues and barriers as well as a plan of action that will lead to a better understanding of the diversity of the autism spectrum.

We again invite autistic self-advocates to come together with their peers, employers, educators, agencies and government to take another step forward in building an autism friendly future.

  • Judgment Free 
  • Breakfast and Lunch
  • Mutli-Sensory Lounge
  • Raffle Prizes

When you register please suggest a topic or as a question so that together we can address what is most meaningful to you. The most asked questions and suggested topics will become sessions in different rooms. There are 15 sessions available (5, 45 minute sessions in 3 different rooms).

Autism Friendly is an opportunity to grow personally and professionally learning more about working with diversity while supporting autism in the workplace, at school and in the community.

Thank You!

Thank you to Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter for their support helping us bring delicious food for everyone to this great event! Thank you to George Brown College for providing space and support.  Thank you to Ryerson University, SSHRC and OCE Social Entrepreneur Fellowship for supporting our outreach initiatives.

The Organizing Committee

The organizing committee is a neurodiverse group of staff who work at Every1Games Professional Services Inc.

Christine Hughes

Damian Laxton

Mark Beaudry

Matthew Pegnam

Jacob Yorke

Jeremy Lyons

Krystal Twiss

Sarah Drew

Other FAQs

What is an Unconference?

An unconference is a “participant driven meeting”. There is no pre-determined speakers or panels. Instead, we collect questions and suggestions from people attending  to drive discussion based on what topics participants find most interesting or pertinent.

Who is Coming?

  • Neurodivergent Post-Secondary Students and Self Advocates, Families and Wellness Professionals.
  • At this event, you represent you and only you.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

George Brown has provided details on various parking lots for the St. James Campus. Here is a link to view the details. If taking the TTC, the closest subway station is Queen Station, you can take the 501 or 504 Street Car from there to Jarvis and Queen St. E. It is a short walk from there. Please visit Google Maps or TTC Trip Planner to recieve directions from your location.
What can/can’t I bring to the event?

You can bring comfort / stim items, questions and perspective. Due to food allergies, please do not bring your own food to the event. If you require accomdation or specific dietary items please contact christine@every1games.ca.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
You can contact Krystal Twiss at engage@every1games.ca with questions about this event.

Every1Games Introduces Social Nights@ Snakes and Lattes

Prepare for the most awesome Monday nights with your neurodivergent friends. Every1Games introduces the first of our social night series Social Nights@ hosted by resident creative artists Veronica Brzoska and Matthew Pegnam. Our Social nights will be at Toronto’s most popular board cafe Snakes and Lattes! Hang outwith Every1Games and become friends and build relationships with board game players and creators while testing board game prototypes. There will also be opportunities to try other games that are available at the cafe, from Monopoly to Munchkinz there are board games for everyone. Recommended for ages 16+.
Thanks to the Potential Programme and Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter this social skills program is FREE to attend!

Where: Snakes & Lattes at 600 Bloor St W

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 9.07.03 PM

When: 6pm – 9pm

  1. Monday, August 17th, 2015
  2. Monday, August 31st, 2015
  3. Monday, September 21st, 2015
  4. Monday, October 5th, 2015
  5. Monday, October 19th, 2015

Free for Autism Ontario Members!

Want to know more about Game Development Night? Check out this video!

Want to know more about Snakes & Lattes Board Game Collection?

To join us for Social Nights@

Toronto’s Keep Calm and Travel On is Back!

Autism brings unique challenges in travelling on public transportation.  Become comfortable and confident getting around Toronto at Keep Calm and Travel On!

This program runs Monday, July 13, to Friday, July 17, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. We have been updating and enriching the program content so that this summer’s program will be even more awesome! There are 2 levels open for registration and the cost of the program is $50.00 thanks to  Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter!

Level 1

Level 1 will teach participants the basic skills they need in order to take simple TTC trips independently.

  • Safety
  • explore the most popular subway stations
  • explore various TTC vehicles
  • understand different methods of payment
  • basics of trip planning
  • basics of TTC etiquette

We will tailor the program to meet the needs of the participants.

Classroom portion from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm.

TTC Travel Portion from 1:20 pm – 3:30 pm.

Pickup will be at 4:00 pm at George Brown School of Design, 341 King St. E., Toronto.

To be prepared for Level 1, participants must be able to go 1 km to a store, school or or library and return home, unsupervised, using a map if necessary, without serious safety issues.

Level 2

Level 2 will teach intermediate-level TTC skills to participants who can already take simple trips independently. We will cover  the material from level one with more complex trip planning, using apps, various TTC vehicles, transfers, connecting from the TTC to GO Transit, and time management.

The  Level 2 group will follow the same schedule as Level 1 on the first day.

TTC Travel Portion from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Classroom Portion from 1:20 pm – 3:30 pm.

Sign up for this course by clicking the link below

Sign Up Now

keep calm and travel on

Every1Games Wins 1st Place at First Annual Philanthropitch!

Last night Every1Games took home the First Place Award at Philanthropitch, the first ever Dragons Den style all in one pitch competition for charities, non-profits and social enterprises!

philanthropitch logo

The $26, 860.00 in cash and other services awarded to Every1Games is going to help us grow our network of support. In the next year we will be bringing together game developers to address talent acquisition so that we can continue to support neurodivergent clients through to a career while meeting the needs of employers (creative studios) seeking talent. I am so proud of our staff at Every1Games, an amazing group of students and industry professionals helping participants in our programs develop the skills they need to succeed!

Toronto Vital Signs

Every1Games is addressing key issues identified in the Toronto Vital Signs 2014 Report.

Thank you Social Ventures Partners, CSI and Toronto+Acumen, the founders of this amazing event and the 18 other organizations making up the Capacity Builder’s Collective who joined forces, funds and resources to make granting funds easier and more efficient for companies like Every1Games to access funding.

We are so grateful for this award. It is an honour to have been in competition with so many great people who are helping to create social impact in their neighbourhoods. Congratulations to all the finalists! Please take some time to check out these amazing businesses in Toronto, logos are linked to their websites :). (Common Ground Co-Op and Good Foot Delivery also work with the autism community!)

artstarts CGC-Logo-Concept

Free GeekRemix
Good Food DepanneurMeal Exchange

Also thank you to the judges who recognized the value of Every1Games. The panel of judges included Amanda Lang (Jounalist & Senior Business Correspondent, CBC), Jeannette Wiltse (COO, Relay Ventures), Tonya Surman (CEO, Centre for Social Innovation), Gianni Ciufo (Financial Advisory Partner, Deloitte), Rahul Bhardwaj (President & CEO, Toronto Foundation), Abigail Slater (Chair, Social Venture Partners), and Tanya Bass (Chair, Toronto+Acumen).

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for more updates!

SpecOps

NEW COURSE: Spec Ops: Video Game Development Program

In this 8 Week video game development program you will learn to use Unity Game Engine, one of the most popular professional game design and development tools.
*Recommended for neurodivergent youth ages 17 – 30. This program is for people interested in attending post-secondary school.  Open to current college students interested in improving skills.
  • Autism Ontario Members use Discount Code autismont for $100.00 discount before subsidy!
  • Additional subsidies with Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter can help you save up to $400.00 to participate.
 
Facilitators;

Rocco Brignanti (Winner of George Brown Best Programmer and Deans Excellence Award)
John Yao (Award Winning Concept Artist)
Crystal Fernandez (Winner of George Brown Best Animator and Deans Excellence Award)
Daniel Mozarowski (Game Designer at Neon Mountain Games and Winner of and Deans Excellence Award)


Luigi's Restaurante

Luigi’s Restaurante – Devantaiie McCarthy SpecOps 2014

Learn More about this course, or sign up for this course by clicking the link below

Sign Up Now