Inclusivity was the theme, as the Hawkesbury Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment and ASD United Prescott-Russell hosted a special Raise the Flag for Autism event on Sunday, April 2.

At 10 a.m., the OPP and ASD United Prescott-Russell raised an Autism Awareness flag at Hawkesbury’s Town Hall, located at 600 Higginson Street in Hawkesbury. The ceremony was one of many taking place in communities throughout the province to support Autism Ontario and World Autism Day on Sunday, April 2, and throughout the month of April.

“Inclusivity really matters in our communities, and the support is really important,” said Nicole Taylor, of ASD United Prescott-Russell, who addressed those in attendance, including volunteers and first responders.

Taylor, a mother with an autistic son, thanked the Hawkesbury OPP and area first responders for their work and support of the cause.

“All of the first responders in the community have been above and beyond,” Taylor said. “It shows the families that first responders care – from doctors to nurses to support staff, the fire department and police in our community.”

From the town hall, the group took a short – if chilly – walk to the Robert Hartley Sports Complex, where the Hawkesbury OPP detachment hosted an EZ child identification program in the 421B Annexe. The OPP registered information, fingerprints and photos to a USB stick, given to the parent or caregivers for free.

“The EZ identification is instrumental to our (autism) families,” Taylor explained. “Because if something happens – a lot of these children will take off, my son included. So we built this with with the OPP and they spent a lot of time and effort setting this up.”

The Hawkesbury OPP detachment hosted an EZ child identification program at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex as part of Autism Day on Sunday, April 2. Submitted Photo