The Autism & Arts in the Laurentian program has been awarded a grant from UNITY FOR AUTISM to subsidize our 2019-2020 program year. Read about it in Main Street’s February 2019 edition:
AAL is a free weekly arts program and friendship club offered at 2 locations in the Laurentians of Quebec.
AAL is a free weekly activity based recreation / friendship program for English speaking autistic individuals who live in Laurentians. An art based program was chosen as the benefits of artistic expression on the lives of individuals on the spectrum are well documented (i.e. improved mental health, communication and social engagement).
ARTS PROGRAM: The benefit of art and creative expression on a person's mental health and well-being are universally recognized. Our arts program covers a broad range of fun and stimulating activities led by local professional artists and contributors. Participants are encouraged to try new things to step out of their comfort zones; all within a stimulating and nurturing environment.
Some of our arts program activities include:
FRIENDSHIP CLUB: Our program aims to offer a safe and supportive space for individuals with autism to develop relationships amongst themselves and with caring and engaged members of our communities. To accomplish this, social time is an integral part of each weekly session; as are field trips and group outings to centers of art/culture (museums, festivals, etc), local community and autism specific events.
Some of our past and up-coming field trips & group activities:
The need for an activity based recreation / friendship program was identified by families of the Anglophone teens & young adults within the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) living in the Laurentians.
These families reported the lack of or limited autism specific services provide solely for the English speaking community of the Laurentians, feelings of isolation as well as increasing mental health issues. While there are Autism specific services for the Francophone community within the Laurentian region, English specific services & events are limited to the greater Montreal or Ottawa regions and many families are unable to participate in these due to lack of resources. In addition, the commute time to and from these regions further impedes the participation of these families.
Thus, a growing number of families within the Anglophone community of Laurentian, and requiring autism specific services, compelled the creation of the AAL program.
PARTNERS AND SPONSORS:
Pictures from various workshops
Activities include painting, drawing, sculpting and more.
Field trips to expand the mind
Drama renactment, skits, plays & film making
Using instruments like guitars, violin & flutes
Fund raising events and activities
Contact us to find more information
MELANIE BUJOLDCommunity Development Agent
Who would’ve thought that a simple after-school club could change someone’s life? Before AAL, I would’ve said that this was impossible, but it isn’t. I remember the moment it first started like it was yesterday. Nervous faces, some more shy than others, all anxiously waiting to meet the people around us, the ones who would eventually become our second family. The ones who would eventually become our shoulders to cry on, laugh with, struggle with and have the most awesome inside jokes with! This room full of strangers would soon be all best friends. On a personal level, I was mostly nervous because art scared me! Art was my worst subject, and I had promised myself that I would never do art ever again. However, AAL proved otherwise. Through AAL, I am able to express myself in ways I didn't know were possible. Being the person I am, one particular memory will stay with me; the singing. When I was little, I adored singing. Hence, I would drive my parents crazy, but my confidence descended so much that I have not sang in front of people in four years. AAL gave me the confidence and support I needed to be comfortable with myself again. It did take some convincing, but the amazing team does help us feel more confident and come out of our shells. Through painting, stop motion, and so many other fun stuff, I am able to regain my confidence, while trying new exciting things. Because of this club, I have the skills and knowledge to make a Stop Motion movie, a puppet, a painting, a clay animal, a blue screen film, just to name a few! It is not only the art that makes AAL memorable, it is the bonds. From the moment we enter the room to the minute we leave school, we are cared for and feel wanted. Someone will be there to laugh with you and to make you smile. No matter your age, you will be asked how your day was and simply, feel loved! In a world where there is so much hate, we are lucky to call AAL our safe space, one where we can truly be our best version of ourselves. That family like bond we all share is what makes my Wednesday nights all worth it. “Being part of something special doesn’t make it special- something is special because you’re a part of it” -Glee Simply put, AAL has changed my life.
What I like about AAL club is making new friends and doing thing with other people. I liked doing the activities that we have been doing in the past, going to museums and getting to knowing everyone. AAL is lots of fun. We get to learn thing that we didn’t know before. I’m learning what autism is really about.
I like to make art and go traveling to different places. I really liked film-making on bluescreen and I liked to make puppets and plushies. AAL is fun!
I enjoy watching the members make new friends, flourish and share in their accomplishments and creativity. I volunteer because I was shown that it is important to give back to our community and in volunteering with AAL, I am fortunate that I receive more than I give.
This program is amazing, the CLC is remarkable. My son went from the most challenging and solitary grade school years in a French school board and now after having only done a bit more than half a year of high school at LRHS and AAL and he is finally respected, understood and loved. He's out almost every weekend with friends. I can't express enough my gratitude to all the volunteers at AAL.
Autism & Arts in the Laurentians (AAL) is the best place for families and friends to come together in a calm, laid-back and creative environment for adults and kids of all ages. They offer a mass amount of recreational activities after-school and most after work hours, such as Painting, Music, Acting, Improvision and many more! They have schedules to keep track of any future special activities to keep everyone organized. Apart from the various activities we partake in, they help with life skills for those who are struggling with coping with Autism whether it be taking care of your child, friend or yourself as an individual. This club is unique. Here at AAL, we're more than just a club; we're family. Come and join us on this creative adventure!
AAL has changed my life because before I joined the group I didn’t have any autistic friends, or so I thought. When my mom asked me if I wanted to join AAL, I was nervous because I thought I wouldn’t know anyone and that I would have to go to a new place and learn new names. It turned out that I didn’t need to go to a place I didn’t know. I knew almost everyone there so I was comfortable. It became part of my routine that on Wednesday’s I go to group and do lots of fun things. Most of all I get to be myself and no one makes fun of me!