Matthew is a very happy young man who loves looking for his next adventure in life. He is also a young man with autism spectrum disorder. He is non-verbal and needs assistance with toileting. He has an amazing sense of humour, and even though he can’t tell you a joke with his words, he loves to tell you a joke with his movements and actions.

In April of 2019, he started attending the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism Society two days a week, and his family drives the two hours from Vernon on those two days so he can play and learn in an environment where he knows he is safe.

When the pandemic struck, the centre had to close down for some time.

“It was devastating for Matthew,” said Wanda Eddy of the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism Society. “He not only lost the staff at the centre, he lost access to the friends he had made as well.”

Not only is Matthew a fair distance from Kamloops, but there are health concerns in the family that further inhibit his ability to continue with his programs.

Thanks to United Way funding, the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism Society was able to send a staff member to Vernon once a week. They brought with them a care package complete with activities Matthew could do in order to continue working on his motor skills and ensure he did not lose any of the progress he had already achieved.

When it comes to best supporting their clients, Chris Rose staff say in-person services are crucial.

“When working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder, that face-to-face connection is invaluable,’ said Wanda. “The slightest change to a schedule can be devastating. Additionally, their home life is considerably different not having contact with extended family, friends, etc.”

When the society was able to resume their in-person programs in May, Matthew was overjoyed.

“His parents were quite amused to report that he always knew when Chris Rose days were coming as he would be up and asking for his backpack, and ready to head out the door.”

Your generosity, through United Way, has given Matthew opportunities that would not be possible otherwise. The world is changed one person at a time. Thank you for making a difference by giving!

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