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Dragonfly Dreamtime - March 23,2012 - Saint Croix Courier

posted Jul 30, 2012, 7:33 PM by Dragonfly Centre for Autism Inc   [ updated Aug 24, 2012, 6:53 PM ]

Dragonfly  Dreamtime

Mary Casement     March 23/12

Do you remember the first time you saw a glistening dragonfly hovering near you?  Did you marvel at those shimmering iridescent wings, amazing flight manoeuvres and glorious colors?  Did you know that dragonflies have been living on this planet for over three hundred million years, that there are nearly 5000 different species, and that they are found all over the world except in Antarctica?  They can fly at a zippy 45 miles an hour, they can hover like a helicopter, even fly backwards like hummingbirds do, as well as straight up and down or side to side.  Their amazing giant size eyes can see a full 360 degrees around them.  They might live a few years in their water bound nymph stage but, as glorious adult winged dragons, they only live a few months. This amazing transformation from a rather dull looking water nymph to iridescent sky dancer has given them an identity as symbols of illusion, change and transformation in many cultures.   It is this aspect of change and self realization that the Dragonfly Centre for Autism tries to capture in the programs it develops and delivers to young people diagnosed within the autism spectrum.

Dragonfly Centre for Autism Inc. was founded in 2005 and has been offering intensive music and art therapy summer camp programs with trained specialists, for kids 6 to 18 years, offered in July & August. In February 2012, we opened a year round resource centre at 36 Milltown Blvd in St Stephen which allows us to offer an even broader range of services to youth with ASD, as well as to parents, care givers and teachers involved with this disorder.  

The often discouraging fact about autism is that it is a lifelong neurological disorder that affects the brain and sort of short circuits what we call “normal” communication. There is no established cause or known cure or repair job at this time in spite of years of research in the field. Many people who have autism are non-verbal or have limited or delayed speech while others are highly gifted with verbal skills.  Communication however, involves a lot more than just the ability to talk, and people with autism often have additional complications in relating to other people because their responses to stimuli such as sound, light, color, can be very dramatic and not what we label as “normal”. When we are faced with these unusual responses, we often don’t know how to respond either.  The inability to look at you, fluttering hands, guttural noises, screaming, or other actions may be seen as just “bad behaviour” when in reality it is the complete inability of the person to control any of these possible traits or to express themselves in any other way.  That’s where Dragonfly comes in...

Dragonfly offers programs, training and support with specialists who can connect with each unique child, identify their specific needs and abilities, then implement a teaching technique that often leads the child to developing more effective ways to communicate their basic human needs.  We receive some provincial funding to operate a base centre but we rely mostly on grants, donations and fund raising events to operate our programs.  We’re always trying to improve and expand the range of programs we offer since our goal is always to improve and enrich the lives of those living with autism and to hopefully help them realize their glorious transformation into living more comfortably, with joy and dazzling new visions just like a dragonfly.

You can reach us by phone at 465-8900, email at dragonfly@nb.aibn.com or in person at 36 Milltown Blvd, St Stephen between 10 and 2, Monday to Friday.  New dragonflies always welcome.


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