of Volunteering with GSA
by Stacey Johnson
To expand understanding and awareness
of persons with a range of disabilities within the community
To promote opportunities for inclusion,
self-respect, learning, experience, confidence-building and greater independence
for adults in the community who are dealing with Autism.
What Is Autism?
for more information
Autism is usually diagnosed in early
childhood, and is characterized by impaired social, communication and thinking
functions, and by repetitive or ritualistic behavior
There are usually profound problems
with social relationships and the expression of emotions
Between 1/3 and ½ of people with
autism have no speech, and most others have difficulties with language
Adults with autism may function remarkably
well when they have: work and recreational-leisure activities that give
meaning to life; advocacy by friends who care; structure and predictable
and familiar surroundings; and ways to communicate needs and desires.
Why Are Volunteers Needed?
Individuals, who need others’ support
for such experience, can be involved in the community and given opportunities
for self-growth and learning
Awareness of disabilities and community
inclusion is promoted
Young adults leaving school by age 21
need friends to offset restrictions in their opportunities for leisure,
social activities and opportunities for learning and growth.
Basic human needs include a sense of
belonging, a sense of contribution to society, and a social network to
rely upon in times of need. More than most, individuals with Autism need
opportunities and support to prove their value and worth to society.
Individuals with autism may have very
specific skills and interests which, if applied, can prove beneficial to
a variety of organizations while giving these adults a sense of accomplishment
Some Volunteer Opportunities:
If you have any
further questions please feel free to contact Stacey
Johnson or Elizabeth
Being a friend, and spending time together
to develop shared interests
Attending concerts, films, games, going
out for snacks or meals
Supporting volunteering work on campus
by individuals with autism (in Library, Arboretum, with University units
and voluntary organizations)
Shared exercise opportunities—swimming,
squash, badminton, hiking
One young man wants to learn to be more
comfortable with dogs, by walking those in the OVC labs, but needs another
person with him.
Some want to learn more through credit
and non-credit courses and could use your support.
Check the Ontario
Adult Autism Research and Support Network’s website for more information
and opportunities for volunteering at OAARSN
Click on the Communications button on the main page, then on Volunteering.
Or click directly
Volunteer? - Catherine Ferguson's account of volunteering
message - why volunteers matter, by a man with autism
Print or download a volunteer application
current volunteer opportunities with GSA