Phone: 416-224-5959
Fax: 416-224-2772

Anthony’s Story

When a child is born, there are hopes and dreams for the future. Often times when a child has been diagnosed with a condition like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), families feel uncertainty, and maybe even despair about the future of their child.

ISAND is not just in the business of providing leading edge therapies to children with ASD, we are also in the business of providing HOPE to their families. Here’s a story that we heard from a parent of a teen with ASD

For years we’ve been concerned that Anthony will have nowhere to go and nothing meaningful to do when he finishes school. Through his involvement with ISAND, we see Anthony grow and flourish and we now realize that there are possibilities for him after highschool. ISAND has given us hope and direction for the future.

ISAND needs your help to continue to provide HOPE to families like Anthony’s. Your contribution today will ensure that we can continue to provide help and HOPE for families who desperately need it.

Please donate today.

Visit by MP Ali Ehsassi

On Wednesday December 9, 2020 Ali Ehsassi, Member of Parliament Willowdale, came to ISAND for a tour and to provide us with four bags of PPE. Mr. Ehsassi, a supporter of ISAND and the work that we do provided us with mask, hand sanitizer, Canadian Flags, and a Certificate thanking and acknowledging ISAND for our role in helping families by providing leading edge therapy to children, youth and adults with ASD.

Employable Me

Three time karting champion, Austin Riley, the first professional race car driver with autism spectrum disorder sat down with ISAND’s world renowned developmental paediatrician, Dr. Wendy Roberts, to talk about his career as race car driver. The interview was filmed and will be part of an episode of season four of Employable Me, which airs on TVO and AMI. (The date of airing is not confirmed, but likely sometime in April 2021).

Austin has placed high in many races including winning first place in a Saleen Cup race at Portland International Speedway in 2019. He is living proof of his own famous saying that, Just because you have Autism, it doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. For more information on Austin and his acer, visit www.racingwithautism.com.

ISAND disturbed by defence strategy in Minassian trial

The 28-year-old man, accused of killing 10 and injuring 16 after driving a van down Toronto’s Yonge Street in 2018 over the course of several minutes, has pleaded not criminally responsible to the charges.

Through his lawyers, Alek Minassian has pleaded not criminally responsible for his actions that day claiming that because of his Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, Mr. Minassian’s way of thinking is “severely distorted in a way similar to psychosis”, stated Dr. Rebecca Chauhan in a Toronto Star article.

At ISAND we believe this statement to be erroneous and damaging to the thousands of people living with ASD in the GTA. Minassian agrees that he intended to kill, that the murders were planned and deliberate, and that he in fact did cause the death of those people. To say that people with ASD lack the emotional awareness to understand that it is wrong to kill people is both wildly inaccurate and extremely dangerous.

ISAND embraces the uniqueness of everyone and believe that every person with ASD, given the right supports, can and should feel welcomed in their community.

This defence strategy perpetuates harmful stereotypes about people with ASD. In fact, research has shown that persons with who are very intelligent and have ASD tend to be law abiding, highly moral and are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

Mr. Minassian does in fact have Autism Spectrum Disorder, however we believe that diagnosis has nothing do with his pre-meditated actions on that April day in 2018. From the court reports, it appears that most of the experts called for both the defence and the crown agree. Dr. John Bradford, a Canadian Forensic Psychiatrist called by the defence stated under oath that that Mr. Minassian showed ritualistic behaviours, but not delusional behaviour or psychosis. In Dr. Bradford’s opinion, the ASD diagnosis does not allow Mr. Minassian to be found Not Criminally Responsible.

We hope that the judge rejects the defence arguments, and allows Mr. Minassian to be judged on his actions, not on a falsely misleading theory based on his diagnosis of ASD.

Message from Executive Director, Bob Butella:

Updated COVID Screening Protocol and Guidelines for In-Person appointments

As you may be aware, Toronto Public Health and the local school boards updated their screening and safety guidelines on Friday in response to the ever growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Toronto and across the province. ISAND will follow the same protocols as recommended by Toronto Public Health.

Starting Tuesday December 8, if a child has one new or worsening of the following nine symptoms, the in-person appointment will be cancelled and re-scheduled sometime after the early of: 1) ten (10) days of self-isolation; 2) receiving negative COVID results; or 3) have been given clearance by their health provider. Children who have an existing health condition, confirmed by a health provider, that gives them any of the nine identified symptoms, should NOT answer YES to the screening questions unless the symptoms are new, different, or worsening.

The nine symptoms are:

Fever >37.8 CCoughDifficulty Breathing
Loss of TasteHeadacheMuscle aches or Fatigue
Stuffy or Runny noseSore ThroatNausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

The updated fillable screening form (Click here) can be found under the COVID-19 Tab above. Please complete the form within 48 hours of the booked appointment. The completed form can be brought with you or can be e-mailed to info@isand.ca if you need to cancel.

In addition:

  1. If  we become aware of an infected person being on site, including a member of the ISAND staff team, we need to contact public health.
  2. we will work with Toronto Public Health on follow up protocols, including informing persons who may be at risk due to contact about the potential exposure and steps to be taken.

Message from Executive Director, Bob Butella:

ISAND received confirmation today from Toronto Public Health that we can remain open as an Essential Workplace for limited in-person appointments, both in our centre and off-site. Virtual visits will continue to be an option available to many people. In-person appointments will resume if clinically recommended, and when virtual visits are not possible or in the best (clinical) interests of the individual.

Your therapist will connect with you to: discuss the reasons to continue with in-person therapy; verify ISAND COVID-19 protocols; and to confirm your agreement for you or your child to attend in-person appointments.

Stay safe and healthy!

Tips for School Success during COVID-19

This school year has brought a whole host of new challenges and experiences for students, parents and teachers alike. Students with ASD at all levels are having to adapt to the new academic landscape due to changes brought about by COVID-19. It is important to understand how these developments are impacting students’ learning and social and emotional wellbeing.

What follows are some of the benefits and challenges students with ASD are reporting across all levels of schooling, and some strategies for success during the time of COVID-19. … Read more.

How to encourage your child to wear a mask

Some children may feel uneasy about wearing masks. They may need extra support and comfort from parents. Parents also can help children understand why they might need to wear a mask, and make them more comfortable and even fun to wear.

  1. Make it familiar – Have parents wear it around the house, and child practice wearing it to become familiar with using one. 
  2. Decorate or help make their mask – Makes it fun and gives them some autonomy/control around the situation. 
  3. Play – Can practice using it in play scenarios such as using it on a stuffed animal, wearing it to play ‘doctor’ or superheroes. 
  4. Talk about what it is for and why it is important in clear terms to set expectations for child.

Some Social Stories regarding wear masks;

I can wear a mask – A social Story by THE AUTISM RESEARCH INSTITUTE

I can wear a mask! – A Social Story for Visual Learners by Meg Stone
Heaberlin, PsyD & Celia Schloemer, MA, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

WEARING A MASK – ASERT & PAautism.org