Hello Fellow Pinheads.
My name is Mike and I live in the Toronto Area. In January, my son was diagnosed with autism. My wife and I responded eventually responded to this life event by starting an initiative called Path of Play. What we did was host a "Family Game Day" in our home, for those who were impacted by special needs, but the cool part was that we also invited families who did not have such challenges...differences were left at the door and similarities were celebrated through play.
You can watch a video about it with this link. it really does explain the idea quite effectively.
Below are some pics from our family game day efforts. There are now two more events booked before the holidays come and we already have a waiting list for the new year.
There are numerous wonderful charitable efforts that use the world of pinball as an avenue for awareness and fund raising. For us, this is one of our tools, and we feel that we are trying to use it in a rather unique manner.
There are 2 things we want to accomplish with this project.
1. There are tens of thousands of kids around the world who are "mild" on the spectrum, and many times, they get placed at the back of the queue for publicly funded therapy. The result is a wait time for as much as two years. This was the case for my son, and we felt that early intervention was key. In less than a year, he has gone from screaming at strangers in restaurants, to enjoying more of his surroundings with people, and his therapy was key in helping him. But the cost of private therapy is very high, and so, we have developed a strategy to assist families with a subsidy program, when private therapy is their only option for immediate help.
2. We want to use the world of play (pinball being one of these avenues), as a means of bridging the gap of inclusion, and help kids with special needs to build more meaningful relationships through these various forms of play.
I would like to mention that our friends at Jersey Jack Pinball, and Nitro Pinball in British Columbia have stepped up in BIG ways to help this project. We have also teamed up with our friends at Replay FX/PAPA, Dead Flip, and Buffalo Pinball on the live streaming side.
Now, I am reaching out to this pinball community, to join us on our Facebook page to learn more about what we are trying to do. Our ONLY goal right now is to grow our social media community on Facebook. I would be very appreciative if you would consider joining our group to learn more about it, and hopefully become involved in our efforts.
One of the things that excites me most about this project, is that it is one of the few initiatives where kids with special needs, and neuro-typical kids can take part in something together. Through this project, we can offer young people not impacted by special needs a way to gain a better level of understanding, empathy, and hopefully in the end, acceptance.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com
Thanks for reading....
PS - our website exists, but is currently being updated.