I have always been blessed to have special people in my life who I count as close friends, but friendship is something that can be taken for granted.

When Miriam was born, I expected nothing different for her. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be that easy. In May 2017, when Miriam was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder it definitely helped us to understand why some things were the way they were for her. While it didn’t seem to bother Miriam that she didn’t have a special friend, it certainly was something I worried about. It didn’t, however, lessen my hope for her that she would develop close friendships too.

We all want to have people in our lives with whom we can confide in, those who can share our joys and sorrows and those who we can be ourselves with. I believe that friendship is a vital component of living a healthy and fulfilling life.

One of the reasons for starting the Girls on the Spectrum Drop-in was that by bringing girls together who are facing some of the same issues, friendships would form. And they have!

When Miriam made her first friend at the drop-in, I was so happy – and now she has many friends! Friends she looks forward to seeing every week and who look forward to seeing her too. This evening as she texted back and forth with one of the girls from the group, I got teary eyed because it gave me hope; hope that my daughter will experience all of the wonderful things that life has to offer – including friendship.

Thank you to all of my friends and family who have always loved and supported me. You mean the world to me.



February Girls on the Spectrum Newsletter

Introducing the new Girls on the Spectrum Newsletter (a little late this month!).

Girls on the Spectrum February 2018 Newsletter

The purpose of this monthly newsletter is to share with you what we have coming up at the Drop-in and any interesting information I find related to girls with ASD.

Hope you find this helpful and if you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to comment!

Stay warm!










Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

merry christmas

Girls on the Spectrum Ottawa would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2018!

Fall 2017 has been very exciting for us with the start of the Girls on the Spectrum Drop-in. We have had so much fun together and are looking forward to meeting again in the new year (Sunday, January 7th).

A few things to look forward to in 2018:

Enjoy your holidays!




Learn More About the Girls on The Spectrum Drop-in!

When we started the Girls on the Spectrum Drop-in back in September we had no idea how quickly it would grow or the interest community would have in what we are doing.

We have been very fortunate to have had a lot of help in getting the word out – through print, television and radio!

If you would like to learn more about the Girls on the Spectrum Ottawa Drop-in please take a look at or listen to the following media pieces –

Accessible Media inc TV – This Week:

Rogers TV – Daytime:

CBC Ottawa Morning:

Ottawa Community News:

The Girls on the Spectrum Drop-in is held every Sunday afternoon from 1-3 pm at Orleans United Church. Please contact Suzanne Allen at 613-852-0828 or for more information.

Resources for Girls on the Spectrum

The Girls on the Spectrum Drop-in has been up and running for a month now and we have had so much fun getting to know girls from across the City!

I have had several parents ask about resources and support that is available in Ottawa for their girls.

While the following information will by no means be an exhaustive list of resources, it is what I have found to be helpful on our journey so far. Every day I’m learning more and will pass on what I learn to you!

If there are other great resources out there that I have not mentioned please share in the comments section.

When we first suspected that Miriam might be dealing with a learning disability, a therapist that I know suggested we have Miriam assessed at the Child, Adolescent and Family Centre of Ottawa (CAFCO). We had a wonderful experience there for Miriam’s assessment. Miriam’s psychologist has been very kind, patient and understanding with Miriam and has moved at Miriam’s pace. The assessment was very thorough and really helped us to identify Miriam’s strengths as well as areas where she would most likely need extra help.

Miriam is also attending an evening group at CAFCO called Friends for Life. This program helps children to build emotional resilience and teaches strategies that help with anxiety.

CAFCO is located at 320 Osgoode Street, Ottawa and can be reached by phone at 613-567-0777 or by email at Their website address is :

Resources –

Their Facebook page –

Once we had Miriam’s diagnosis, I started looking for information regarding support and resources available in Ottawa.

Miriam and I attended the Autism Ontario – Ottawa Chapter’s Picnic this past summer and we were introduced to Marnie Potter , who is the Family Support Coordinator for East and South Eastern Ontario. Please contact her for systems navigation support, resources and advocacy. Her email is and phone messages can be left at 613-230-6305.

Marnie was able to point me in the direction of different resources, including the Social Butterflies program. This is a social program for girls on the Autism Spectrum aged 7-11. Six sessions are offered over three months in Kanata. Spots are limited and unfortunately when I went to register Miriam for the Fall session , the program was full, but stay tuned to the Autism Ontario – Ottawa Chapter’s website for their next sessions –

I have recently met with ABC Pediatric Therapies, located at 1939 St.Joseph Boulevard in Orleans. This bilingual organization offers a wide array of therapies for children, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, behavioural therapy, holistic nutrition, naturopathy and counselling. Please visit their website at :

I hope to coordinate some events at their location in Orleans in the coming months – stayed tuned!

The Autism Program at CHEO provides services to children on the autism spectrum and their families. To receive a referral package – please contact 1-877-542-2294 or 613-249-9355.

CHEO works in conjunction with the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC). The OCTC provides specialized care for children with multiple physical, developmental, and associated behavioural needs.

You can also contact Service Coordination for People with Developmental Disabilities – Ottawa – This community organization helps families in finding resources and programs available to them and their children.

Other resources/programs people have shared with me include:

As I mentioned earlier, this is by no means a full list and any service I may have missed is only due to me not yet knowing about everything that is available. Please share what you have found helpful in the comments section.

Over the next few posts, I will continue sharing information regarding resources available in ottawa, including

  • financial support;
  • books about girls on the Spectrum;
  • online resources; and
  • social media support

As always, I want to remind you of our Girls on the Spectrum Drop-in which is held every Sunday from 1-3 pm at Orleans United Church – 1111 Orleans Boulevard.

I can be reached st 613-852-0828 or by email at

Hope to see you and your daughter soon!!