It was a pleasure to have Wanda Carisse, executive director of the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism, as our lead speaker at today's meeting. The Chris Rose Centre's mission is to provide educational, therapeutic, life skills and family support services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Founded in 1989 as Giant Steps West, teacher, school principal and school trustee Chris Rose (now a member of the Rotary Club of Kamloops) took on the role of executive director in 1996. The Centre was renamed after Mr. Rose in 2002 in recognition of his support of children with special needs. Ms. Carisse herself has been with the Centre for 20 years. 

What is autism? From the Centre's website: "Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviours." The Centre runs a School Based Program for ages 5-12 and an Extended Program for ages 6-18, as well as a Summer Program. It also offers Community Inclusion Program for adults ages 19 and up.

We are fortunate to have such a wonderful centre in our community. Don't miss their fundraising concert on Friday, March 31!