20Sep23 Megan Papadakos – Autism Ontario

President Mark opened with the Gong, O Canada, toasts to King and Country and RI. Gerry lead the recitation of the 4way test.
Dictionaries are being delivered tomorrow, Friday and Monday to 14 schools in all. The cost comes from District Grants, Molly Maid, Doug Tarry, and other sponsors. Trudy has been placing sponsorship stickers in the front and back of the dictionaries. This is a very significant outreach to our community.
Stew and Trish will move to St. Catharines to be close to their daughter Rosalyn and her family starting Oct23. They will be commuting back and forth to St Thomas to support Trish’s mother. They will submit a copy of their job description to Mark so that their transition away from club runs smoothly. Barbara has agreed to become the Club Service Director. 
Cheque Presentation: to Julie Ryan from Indwell. This money will help pay for cost of the kitchen at the Queen St. building. 60 meals will be prepared per day. We are welcome to attend the Grand opening of the 16 Queen St facility Friday Sep29 10AM. Sign up at:
Gerry presented Paul Harris +7 to Nancy. This represents her personal giving to Rotary International.
Next week we make final preparations for the Discovery Tour at our club meeting time at the Senior Centre. 4Oct23 the club will have a special $20 per person meal at the Senior Centre in celebration of t the Discovery Tour; please notify Mark if you intend to have that dinner.  All Rotary meetings are open to anyone, whether you eat lunch at the meeting or not. 
Nancy introduced the quest speaker see bio:
My name is Megan Papadakos, and I am incredibly honoured and excited to have joined the Autism Ontario team this past June. I received my diploma from the University of Western Ontario, in Religious Studies and Philosophy.  I used my education to work within the non-profit field for the past 15 years.  Offering programs and services to people with disabilities and experiencing barriers, to assist them in fully reaching their employment, educational and personal objectives. Recently, I returned to school to pursue my Fundraising Management Certificate, so I can continue to work towards providing opportunities to all people in our community, by ensuring funds and resources are available to help build and sustain a future we can all thrive in together. By joining the Autism Ontario team, I hope to build strong relationships, listen to what the community needs, and help make a positive impact in our society. I am a mother of two young children, who teach me daily the beauty of life and how to be a better person. In my personal time, I am an avid gardener, who loves teaching about the benefits of ecotherapy and the mind/body connection. I also volunteer for Diabetes Canada and the Alzheimer’s Society, as I believe it is important to give back to the institutions and people that impact your life.
Her presentation: Megan started 23Jun23 with Autism Ontario. Autism is found in every culture; cause is not specifically known but is thought to be caused by mainly genetic. Environmental factors do play a role. Bad parenting is not a cause and autism is not contagious. It is a lifelong condition for the person with Autism; that same person must learn to cope through self-training. 
Symptoms: Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a different view of the world and may perform repetitive activities to release pent up energies. 1 in 50 people have ASD. Males are most likely to have ASD; girls tend to mask symptoms. They will likely have more than 1 area of weakness that can lead to “meltdowns”. They find direct eye contact difficult. They get along better with animals than people.
The rest of us can be supportive of a person with ASD by asking how they wish to be identified; eg as Autistic etc. interact with them in small defined steps and wait for feedback. Be inclusive. Encourage them to take up a hobby(s) and to interact socially. They must be allowed to have social and emotional reciprocity, a stable environment and relationships. They need you to be their advocate. They will likely need help to find work. Headphones with music can help reduce external distractions. They need a quiet place to easily escape to. They need to be encouraged to find more than their one repetitive activity in order to develop personally. Be empathetic, hear what they say and respect differences.
Parents should go to medical professionals (Family doctor or paediatrician) for a diagnosis of ASD. That should lead to government funding support. Watch developmental milestones of children. Be prepared to advocate for your child with ASD. Autism Ontario has many programs that may help children and adults with autism.
Bill Thanked Megan and asked if incidence is on rise. Yes but likely because it is becoming more recognizable.
Happy Finns
Gerry:       winning the 50/50 draw
                  getting a new car
Mary:     for the speaker
Barbara:   Dad's 106th birthday
                     Autism in the family
Pat:   sold all her tickets to the Tour
          for our speaker
          had a 3-day trip to TO