Objectives 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? 
 Click 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 and worth


Some Volunteer Opportunities:
 

  • 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.

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If you have any further questions please feel free to contact Stacey Johnson or Elizabeth Bloomfield 

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 on:
Why Volunteer? - Catherine Ferguson's account of volunteering
Andrew's message - why volunteers matter, by a man with autism
Print or download a volunteer application form 
Volunteers needed! - current volunteer opportunities with GSA