Tag Archives: Autistic

Created by Every1Games student Matthew Montgomery

Programs Begin October 1st! Register Now to Save Your Spot.

It’s time to register for the next cohort of Every1Games workshops. If you’ve stumbled upon us be sure to check out the about page to learn more about what we do. The best way to learn more is to contact us.  You can also find us on facebook and twitter.

Autism, spectrum, autistic, Aspergers, learning disabilities. Just making sure that we have these words in the post because our programs are specialized to help neurodivergent youth develop the skills required to succeed in life after high school. No diagnosis is required to participate. Our programs are a low-anxiety space where we encourage you to be comfortable being you so that you can learn at your best.  Many of our staff members are also on the spectrum or identify with a disability. Here you will have access to mentors for more than creative production, but life as an adult facing the challenges that come with growing up.

In Toronto we are offering two 8 week programs Creative Production and SpecOPS. If you are new to Every1Games or more interested in video, Creative Production is for you. If you have some experience and are interested in going to college (or currently attending college for media) then join the SpecOps program and work with us to develop your skills and portfolio.  In St.Catharines  you can join us for one 8 week program focusing on the fundamentals of game design.

All of our programs offer a low-anxiety environment. If you are not sure if our programs are for you email engage@every1games.ca.

Program descriptions are below.

When: 8 Saturdays (10am to 4pm) starting October 1st.

Where: Programs are available in Toronto (George Brown College School of Design, 341 King St. E), and St.Catharines (Brock University Centre for Digital Humanities).

How Much: Program fees vary, regular fees are between $720 to $900 before discounts and subsidies. If you’d like to split payments or inquire about subsidies we can accommodate you. Let us know what works for you.  Please register to save your spot in the meantime.

 

Register online to save your spot in the program. An invoice will be created based on the information you provide in the profile. We will contact you to confirm participation. 

To Register: Create an account and fill out a profile. Be sure to fill out the profile using the information of the person who is attending the program. The invoice will be sent to the email address entered in the profile. Remember to include your birthday so that we can apply subsidies that you might qualify for. Then login to browse programs and choose the course you’d like to join. Click Read More to see the schedule, then click Next to enter discount codes. Autism Ontario members use autismont for $100.00 off! Then click Register. 🙂 We will contact you with an invoice when we confirm your participation where you will have the option to pay online or by cheque. No payment is required to save your spot in the program.

Creative Production – Toronto

Our fall Creative Production program (Coded as CREA T1016) will teach participants a variety of digital and traditional arts, and video production. No experience necessary. Discover your skills and interests working with like minded people.

SpecOps – Toronto

Our Fall SpecOps program (Coded as SPEC T1016) will teach participants how to use Unreal 4, a game design software tool used by popular studios like Ubisoft and Activision. Participants will work independently and in groups to design a game using 2D/3D art tools, programming and sound engineering software depending on the groups interests. Lead by autistic youth mentors, this 8 week program is for people interested in attending post-secondary game design programs and is open to current college students interested in improving their game design skills.

Creative Production – Niagara (St.Catharines)

Our fall Creative Production program in Niagara (Coded as GAME N1016) will teach participants the fundamentals of game design.  Participants will explore Game Maker Studio to create a playable level. No experience necessary. Our staff will challenge participants with new activities that help each student meet their goals or prepare to apply for Niagara College and Brock University game related programs.

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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Autism Friendly; a day of learning about the diversity of the autism spectrum

Eventbrite - Autism Friendly

Autism Friendly is a day of learning all about the diversity of the autism spectrum bringing together autistic self-advocates, educators, students, support workers, organizations and business owners to share perspectives and come to a better understanding of autism in our community.

If you’re autistic and are willing to share something of your experience, or just want to meet informally with other autistic individuals, come on along. If you have questions or can offer a perspective on what it means to be autistic,  join us at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone on January 11, 2014 (10:00am – 4:00pm).

Upon registration we will email you a short form to submit a question or suggest a topic.

  • The most asked questions and suggested topics will become sessions in different rooms.
  • 20 sessions available (5, 45 minute sessions in 4 different rooms on the 6th floor of the Digital Media Zone).

5, 45 minute discussions in 4 rooms between 10 and 4 pm, topics not yet listed

We want to know what means most to you, it can be anything within the topic of ASD. We expect topics of conversation will range from self-advocacy and discovery, technologies across the spectrum,  accessible employment,  independence,  and more. 

 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 to the EDGE Lab,  ASAN Toronto, Tactile Audio Displays Inc. and Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone for supporting Autism Friendly’s multi-sensory environment.

dmz_landscape-0

Edge Lab LogoASANTAD 

 Thank you Marathon Learning Materials for sponsoring Breakfast at Autism Friendly.

Who is coming to Autism Friendly?

Autism Organizations: an opportunity for  leading researchers and developmental service providers to share their successes and challenges.

Business Owners: a professional development opportunity; working with diversity, creating an inclusive workplace, and maintaining low-anxiety at work.

Families: an opportunity to share your experiences in a judgement free zone, speak with industry professionals and discover opportunities and services for you and your family.

Teachers: an opportunity to share your classroom experiences,  learn communication strategies with parents, self advocates and other autism professionals.

Self-Advocates:  an opportunity  share your experience and help your community understand what you need to make school and work a better place to be, meet employers and service providers.

Non-Associated Community Members: support social change and learn what you need to understand about autism.

Grow personally and professionally at Autism Friendly, click below to register!

Eventbrite - Autism Friendly

Every1Games Social Engagement Model

Collaborating is Key; OCE-SSHRC Video

We’ve officially applied to the OCE-SSHRC Social Entrepreneur Fellowship! Thank you Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone for all your support. Check out this video Every1Games submitted as part of our application to change the way we engage with autistic youth in our community!

About OCE
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the development of Ontario’s economy by helping create new jobs, products, services, technologies and businesses. In partnership with industry, OCE co-invests to commercialize innovation originating in the province’s publicly funded colleges, universities and research hospitals.