How to show your support for World Autism Day

A Regina family shared their journey with Autism to help raise awareness for the disorder on World Autism Day.

One in 66 Canadian children is diagnosed with autism, according to the Government of Canada. When Arden Fiala's daughter Elene was in kindergarten they found out she was one of those children on the autism spectrum.

"It’s the social ques that she's missing because she has Asperger’s syndrome and it started a four-year journey before we had the diagnosis," Arden Fiala said Friday.

Elene Fiala was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome as a child. (Courtesy: Arden Fiala)

Asperger’s syndrome is a high functioning form of autism. It's a developmental disorder that causes some people to have a difficult time relating to others socially. Their behavior and thinking patterns can be rigid and repetitive.

While the initial diagnosis may have been a shock, now it's just one part of who Elene is.

“Her eyes are green, she loves to hunt and fish and oh by the way she has Asperger’s but, I mean that’s just one part of her, that doesn't define her,” Fiala said.

While the diagnosis has helped her gain some supports, today, Elene is just like any other young woman.

"Just like any other 23-year-old she lives on her own in Moose Jaw, and she's going back to school to become a carpenter," she said.

On April 2 you're asked to wear blue as a way to show support for World Autism Day.

Fiala is hoping people will do their own research to try to understand what autism is and what it can look like.

“If it's your neighbor that just got diagnosed, ask the questions because how we spark the conversation will build the support and the awareness that we need, especially as parents and caregivers, nevermind the individual,” Fiala said.

While it may have taken some time to find their community, Fiala is thankful to have and be a support systems for those who need it in Saskatchewan.

“Autism was never a journey I expected to be on, but boy do I love my tour guide.”