Category Archives: Culture

Presented by Autism Canada and Every1Games Professional Services Inc.

Meet the Au-Some Conference Speakers

The Au-Some Conference is taking place Saturday August 20th at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton. This event is an opportunity for autistic youth and adults to meet informally with other autistics, self-advocates, educators, students, support workers, and business owners to identify and plan action to combat societal barriers to education, employment and personal support. The event features 6 topics of discussion. Each topic features a speaker with lived experience. Lets learn about these remarkable Au-Some Conference speakers.

(No picture) Yvonne Spicer was diagnosed in childhood with ADD, and ADHD and later diagnosed with Autism at age 35. Yvonne has received an award from Milton Town Council and is presently enrolled in Conestoga College in Kitchener. (Opening Remarks – The person in control of your life is YOU!)

Kelly JohnsonKelly Johnson was diagnosed with Autism after her son received his diagnosis. Kelly maintains a blog called “One Quarter Mama” about Autism, Advocacy, Feminism and Racism issues. Kelly started a consultancy firm called “The Autistic Expert” giving advice. (Presentation A – Autism at Work.)

(No picture)  Brandon Williams was diagnosed with Autism as an adult. Brandon is living with HIV and is working with AIDS Committee of Toronto, the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and the Redpath Centre. Brandon is a life coach educating Autistic people about risk management. (Presentation B – Sexual Health, Are We at Risk?)

(No picture)  Zachary Smith was diagnosed with ASD at six years old. Zachary is currently working at Western University in the Department of Hospitality Services and lectures at Fanshawe College for students training to be social workers and personal support workers. (Presentation C – Building Your Social Network.)

Jackie Mcmillan

(No picture) Jackie McMillan was diagnosed with Autism at age 11. Jackie turned her life into a science project identifying her challenges and connecting with other spectrum teens and adults. Jackie’s website and blog post is, “How to Thrive with Autism” as an autistic teen or adult. (Presentation D – Optimizing Autism Through Managing your Health and Environment.)

(No picture) Kaitrin Beechey was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Kaitrin paints the way she views the world. Some of her paintings underlying themes of acceptance, equality and social responsibility. Kaitrin call’s her art “Windows by Kaitrin” because windows go both ways. (Presentation E – Self-Discover and Successful Outcomes.)

(No picture) Georges Huard was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Georges is currently employed fulltime at Université du Québec à Montréal. Georges gives lectures at schools, colleges and universities about Asperger’s Syndrome and how to adjust to a neurotypical world. (Presentation F – Interpreting People’s Emotions.)

Laura Nadine

Laura Nadine was diagnosed with Autism as an adult at age 27. As a student of the Suzuki Method, Laura progressed quickly as a musical prodigy for her ability to play songs after only hearing them once. Laura currently runs her own music school called Enlightened Audio Academy. (Closing Remarks – “Let Me Fall A Legend.”)

Register to attend The Au-Some Conference.

 

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.

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Toronto

 

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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.

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Toronto


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/

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An Afternoon of Crafting CardsSunday November 8, 2015For any occasion

Holiday Card Creations Workshop – Toronto

Join us on Sunday November 8, 2015  for an afternoon of creating cards for the holidays! Whether you are making a card for yourself, a teacher, parent, sibling or friend, come to the Holiday Card Creation workshop and make something awesome for any occasion.

Cost: 5$
Location:  George Brown College, 341 King St. E

Our main focus is on cut and paste style of cards, as you can see in the pictures below, but there is no limit to your creativity. Create your card using any style you desire! We will supply a silhouette cameo, different kinds of shapes can be cut out for you, or use a variety of different paper cutting tools to make various cards. Questions about this program can be directed to Krystal at engage@every1games.ca
Here are some of the Holiday Card Creations you can make!


Learn more about this program and register here.

Enjoying our lunch

Neurodivergent Love, Life and Learning at Autism Friendly

Autism Friendly 2015 LogoI’ve been to a lot of ‘autism’ conferences, but have never seen this many autistic youth engaged in advocating for themselves.

On August 21, 2015 Every1Games hosted the 2nd Annual Autism Friendly Unconference (AFU). AFU aims to bring together autistic and neurodivergent advocates with peers, employers, educators, agencies and government to come to a better understanding of the diversity of the autism spectrum and to inspire innovative services and supports for each other.

  • Identifying meaningful issues
  • Sharing opinions without judgement
  • Listening to the lived experiences of neurodivergent peers
  • Building relationships with other autistic adults

 

Friends!

Read the Every1Games AFU 2015 Summary, a short event report that focuses on the issues raised specifically acting as barriers to entering post secondary school and a professional career.  The summary identifies stigma, funding, parent involvement and access to information as key areas that need to be addressed to improve the quality of  life for autistic youth. Though the theme was life after school, the result was truly understanding neurodivergent love, life and learning.

 

There was a good, frank discussion about romantic relationships and how difficult it is to obtain one.

Heart design by Nicky Sztybel

AFU 2015 resulted in more than talks about jobs and education. Every1Games Administrative Coordinator and Program Developer, Christine Hughes, lead a popular discussion about sex and intimacy. We need to continue to come together to talk openly about experiences with love, sex, romance and companionship in the autism community. We are certainly excited to plan more events with this in mind so if you have any event ideas that you want to share with us, be sure to contact us either on facebook, twitter or our contact page and let us know so that we can make it happen together!

Enjoying our play lounge!

Enjoying our play lounge!

At AFU we also provided spaces where people can relax if feeling overwhelmed. Our multi-sensory lounge and play lounge were well received by participants who spent some time there.  We got some great feedback to have even better options next year (which reminds me, thanks to the folks who responded to the survey!). We also had a separated lunch room with a variety of different foods to accommodate allergies and sensory sensitivities.

 

But it’s not all fun and games. It was agreed that we need to have more engagement from the private sector, government and medical communities.  When these  groups come to a better understanding of neurodiversity it will reduce serious problems raised at the event including police violence against neurodivergent citizens and doctors refusing to believe neurodivergent people’s self-reports of symptoms.

Thank You. This event was hosted by Every1Games made possible by George Brown College, Ryerson University and Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter and the neurodiverse organizing committee made up of staff and students advocating for themselves and their friends.

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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.

#EatPlayMingle and Global Game Jam

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Last month Every1Games sponsored and hosted #EatPlayMingle along with the International Game Developers Association from George Brown College. The event was an opportunity for programmers, artists, designers and students to come together and enjoy a night out while networking, playing games and eating pizza. There was a great turn out and a lot of connections were formed.

The attendees had the opportunity to learn more about Every1Games as we surveyed interests from excelling students who’d be interested in mentoring high school students.

They also got to engage with the members of 13AM Games on their process of making their new release Runbow which was created at a Toronto Game Jam and is coming out soon for the WiiU. (Runbow was also showcased at last years Level Up Student Showcase which is coming up again in april). 13AM Games spoke about their experiences making their game but also gave advice to those who want to follow in their footsteps. During the event there was an open opportunity for everyone to have a chance to play Runbow before it’s release.

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Every1Games also recruited a team of 10 students who participated at this years Global Game Jam, a world-wide game development event where teams spend 48 consecutive hours developing a game based on a theme. This year 21,000 people in 78 countries participated. Check out the games!

We plan on hosting more #EatPlayMingle events in the future, subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed of all our upcoming events.

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New in Niagara: Comic Book Design Program – Begins Feb 7th!

Comics have been a great tool to deliver powerful messages and give a voice to someone who otherwise might not be heard.  Every1games is offering a 5 week introductory workshop on comic book and graphic novel design, enhancing skill in art and storytelling. We will be taking a closer look at how comics are designed and what makes each one unique.  We will also have the opportunity to take a look at how digital arts technology has influenced the comic book industry.

READ MORE OR REGISTER

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SpecOps Video Game Development Program – Begins Feb 7th!

Now 8 days! We listened to your feedback and have extended the Unity program to a full 8 days so that you can accomplish more. 

Join the Every1Games team at George Brown College’s School of Design for an 8 day program to become familiar with Unity, the most popular professional game development tool used in the best post-secondary game development programs and studios.

READ MORE OR REGISTER