Short story about autism and siblings is a winner

Congratulations to Dean Norris-Jones, whose short story about an autistic boy and his sister won the Victoria and Vancouver Times Colonist’s So You Think You Can Write contest. Norris-Jones, a teacher, won in two categories — short story and dialogue. He told the newspaper that he looked to his own family when writing his short story, Everybody Hurts.

When he entered the Times Colonist’s So You Think You Can Write contest, English teacher Dean Norris-Jones hoped he wouldn’t embarrass himself in front of his students.

No worries.

Our panel of judges voted Norris-Jones the winner of the newspaper’s first-ever in-print and online writing showdown. He wins a trip to next year’s Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. Norris-Jones was also the readers’ favorite, with 53.7 per cent of the votes, so he wins a Sony e-Reader supplied by Atlas Audio Video Unlimited.

Norris-Jones, who teaches English, literature and creative writing at Reynolds Secondary School, competed against four other finalists in the four-week competition. He says he found the assignment-a-week format “exciting and scary,” something he shared with his students. In fact, he gave them a couple of the contest assignments to work on in class.

via He thought he could write — and he was right.

Down syndrome actor is star at Toronto fest

Toronto is crawling with the movie stars you’d expect to see here, from Kevin Spacey to Colin Firth to Marion Cotillard. But there’s always room in the festival for a genuinely new face, and nobody at TIFF 2010 exhibits that quite as dramatically as Evan Sneider.

Sneider, a 31-year-old actor with Down syndrome, is the star of “Girlfriend,” the sweet, beguiling and at times wrenching feature debut from writer-director Justin Lerner about a small-town young man with Down who romantically pursues a single mom.

via Down syndrome actor is star at Toronto fest – Entertainment – Movies – TODAYshow.com.

Yoga helps autistic kids deal with stress

BRIDGEWATER — Aiya Peters rolls back and forth on her back, pulling her feet up to her nose and giggling a glorious giggle.

“They’re stinky!” the six­-year- old laughed.

“Can I get another ice cream?” she asked, squirming over to her mother, lying quiet­ly on the mat beside her.

“Mommy, I love you,” she said, snuggling in for a cuddle.

Seconds later, she’s scampering about again. “Mommy, I have a new friend!

“For her mom, Elsa Veinot, those are beautiful words.Mother and daughter are at a yoga class for children with autism that’s run by the South Shore regional school board.

via Yoga helps autistic kids deal with stress – Nova Scotia News – TheChronicleHerald.ca.

Helping autistic adults find their way in Ontario

Colin Baxter knows his autism makes finding work in film production an added challenge. But an adult autism centre opening today aims to help the 27-year-old and others like him achieve their goals.

The Autism Centre on Main Street East is an “out-of-the-box” way of assisting adults with autism according to Lisa Schumph, program manager for The Salvation Army Lawson Ministries which built and operates the centre.

The centre, which could serve up to 140 people, will fill a niche since autistic adults don’t have structured activities the way children do and can become more isolated from their community.

via TheSpec.com – Local – Helping autistic adults find their way.

Dogs and children with autism

Seven-year-old Matthew Colombo of Kitchener and his autism assistance dog guide, Cash, are a wicked team.

To start with, both are as cute as a bug so watching the bond gently forming between the pair is heartwarming and affirming.

For Chris Fowler, this bond is critical.

Chris is head trainer for the autism assistance dog guides, part of the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides’ programs where he and his wife, Heather Fowler, apprenticed.

In 1996 the couple launched National Service Dogs, a non-profit organization west of Cambridge that trains dogs for children like Matthew, children with autism.

via TheSpec.com – healthfitness – Dogs guide autistic kids.