In an obscure town on the edge of the North Atlantic, two women formed a community group that developed simple, practical changes to make sports, education and medicine more inclusive and accessible for children with autism and other sensory disorders.
Initially envisioned as a small support group, Autism Involves Me (AIM) slowly transformed the entire Southwest coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Its volunteers raised autism awareness, launched Canada’s first autism friendly hotel, developed strategic small business partnerships, and taught schools and even a hospital how to better meet the everyday needs of people on the autism spectrum or with other sensory challenges.
Because of their pioneering efforts, AIM has become a world leader in adaptation and inclusion, and prompted media recognition of Channel-Port aux Basques as the most autism friendly town in Canada. AIM’s work is not only inspiring, it also serves as a practical community model for others to follow.
This guidebook recounts the experiences of volunteers and families, and also offers practical advice and key insights that prove including people with disabilities doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. The included checklists and key training materials serve as a step-by-step community model for entire towns, including business owners, tourism operators, facility managers, medical and education professionals who want to make their environments and workplaces more accommodating, accessible and inclusive.