Owen Hilderley is 10 years old, in grade 4 at Ecole Poirier Elementary School in Sooke, BC and on the surface appears to be like most any other boy his age. Until the age of 3, he spoke very little, and relied almost exclusively on non-verbal communication. Following a variety of tests, Owen was diagnosed with Autism, and he and his family began down the path of learning about this condition, and discovering how to make it work for him.
In the years that followed, Owen was introduced to many wonderful people who helped him to discover his abilities, including creatively articulating his thoughts through pictures, stories and relentlessly seeking answers to all of each day’s mysteries. Among the positive influences in his life, Owen is grateful for the help of the Canucks Autism Network, who have provided him with a safe environment in which to learn how to swim, play soccer, skate, learn physical literacy and to enjoy summer camp. Although every new adventure carries enough anxiety for Owen to threaten to derail his attempt to partake in these experiences which so many kids count as routine, his perseverance is inspiring, and usually results in the reward of an infectious smile, a “high-five” or a loving hug, The momentum that has been built by his successful inclusion in the CAN programs has helped us to find his spark, and to celebrate the little victories that each day brings.