“Ripples in our community pond” – Connections Beyond the Gym

Kieran and his mom, Nathalie, joined Ausome three years ago and have both enjoyed participating in a variety of different sports and recreation programs. But their connection with Ausome, like all of our families, extends beyond the gym or field. Nathalie recently shared with us a story of how Ausome creates, in her words, “ripples in our community pond!”

While Kieran loves being active and seeing his Ausome teammates and volunteers, Nathalie enjoys having that time to make connections with fellow parents and caregivers looking on. In the hallway of Nepean High School is where Nathalie made a strong connection with a group of Ausome parents. Kieran was participating in our Fitness with Friends program at the school, where leadership students in grades 11 and 12 pair with older Ausome athletes to be active and hang out. Kieran partnered with Arvin and Oscar, two amazing kids themselves, and it didn’t take long for the three of them to become best buds.

Last school year was challenging for Kieran. But Nathalie observed how he always perked-up on Fitness with Friends days! Seeing the connection he had made with Arvin and Oscar fueled Nathalie’s belief that there was a personality mismatch at Kieran’s school contributing to his challenges. Conversations with fellow parents in the hallway on shared experiences and similar challenges emboldened Nathalie to advocate more effectively for Kieran. She made sure that Kieran was moved to a different class, and this school year has been significantly better.

“That group of parents at Fitness with Friends was particularly amazing. I connected with a mom who recently moved to Ottawa, and I was able to share some of my experiences with her. Some weeks I got the help and some weeks, I offered it. Felt really good!” – Nathalie S.

Part of our mission at Ausome is to create these opportunities for children living with autism and their families to connect with peers, form friendships and break social isolation – which enriches lives and our community.