Make-A-Wish Canada Partnering With Autism Canada To Strengthen Communication With Non-speaking Wish Kids

Make-A-Wish Canada Partnering With Autism Canada
February, 2024

Make-A-Wish® Canada has partnered with Autism Canada to provide specialized training to Make-A-Wish staff so that they can effectively communicate with wish children who are non-speaking due to their critical illness. Last year, approximately 4% of children who were granted a wish were non-speaking. Autism Canada was selected due to their vast experience in this area. 

“It is vital to our mission that each child’s wish comes from them directly and this has been a challenge with non-speaking kids. This training is a game-changer, allowing us to get to the heart of each child’s wish and tailor that experience for them, just like we do for all other children”, said Lyanne Goulin, Senior Vice-President of Mission, Make-A-Wish Canada. “Having this training is an important part of our commitment to equity and inclusiveness.” 

Jamie McCleary, Interim Executive Director at Autism Canada, shared her insights on the initiative, emphasizing its significance: “This training goes beyond basic communication; it’s about making every child feel heard and valued. Our aim is to equip Make-A-Wish Canada’s team with the skills to connect with non-speaking children, helping them ensure that each wish experience is as personalized and meaningful as possible.” 

The training, designed by Autism Canada, which has been providing training to organizations across Canada since 2020, covers essential topics such as sensory processing, engagement strategies, and the effective use of visual supports. Its goal is to provide Make-A-Wish Canada staff with an understanding of neurodiverse communication methods, fostering an environment of empathy, inclusivity, and tailored interactions to meet each child’s unique needs and preferences. 

The partnership between Make-A-Wish Canada and Autism Canada stands as a powerful demonstration of a shared commitment to neuro-inclusivity, embracing and supporting the diverse communication styles of all children. By nurturing an atmosphere of understanding, this partnership ensures that every wish granted authentically reflects the individual preferences of the child involved. 

MEDIA INQUIRIES: 

Kim Heron, Manager Communications, Make-A-Wish Canada
Email: [email protected] 

ABOUT MAKE-A-WISH CANADA: 

Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We are on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness. As an independently operating affiliate of Make-A-Wish International, Make-A-Wish Canada is part of the network of the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization. We serve children in every community in Canada, and in more than 50 countries worldwide. In 2023, Make-A-Wish Canada proudly celebrated 40 years of wish granting, having granted more than 38,000 wishes since 1983, with nearly 1,400 of them last year alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish Canada, visit makeawish.ca.

ABOUT AUTISM CANADA: 

For over 45 years Autism Canada has had a national perspective on the issues currently facing those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their families, caregivers, and allies. Autism Canada’s primary mandate is to increase the quality of life and well-being of people on the Autism Spectrum through education, advocacy, and support. Autism Canada is committed to delivering the highest quality programs and community resources like the national annual Au-Some Conference, our dedicated Family Support team, a first-of-its-kind Search and Rescue for Autism program, and an exceptional catalogue offering autism education to both the public and private sectors. Autism Canada is proud to have served the autism community in Canada since 1976.