Brittaney Finnigan and Sarah MacCarthy are two mothers who were able to support each other while navigating the complex path of taking care of children on the autism spectrum. On April 28, the two helped bring the broader community together in Prince Rupert.
The pair hosted Prince Rupert’s first Autism and Family Support Fair on Saturday at Jim Ciccone Civic Centre. The purpose of the event was to have a day of fun, socialize, and help parents who have autistic children find a support network. There were lots of arts and crafts, sensory bins, face painting and information booths available with professionals who could provide services, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy.
Later in the afternoon, the Prince Rupert Fire Department brought their fire truck outside the civic centre where they showed off the truck’s bells and whistles and gave the children and opportunity to see and touch some of its equipment.
“We wanted to bring the community together, celebrate the kids, support the parents and just kind of revitalize and restart the support community in Prince Rupert,” Finnigan said.
MacCarthy said that support was generally lacking in Prince Rupert, and hoped that through events like the fair, more parents can be brought together.
“When you’re reaching out and you need someone to get you, you have your neighbour to reach to and you’ve got friends, and now you have strangers,” she said. “Now bringing everyone together in a room, the next time you’re standing in line waiting for your coffee you can say ‘Hey, I remember meeting you last weekend, how’s it going?’”