Burin business owner April Pitcher had some exciting news for parents on the Burin Peninsula who have loved ones on the autism spectrum.
Pitcher, who owns the Extreme Pita franchise in Burin, announced on April 7 the business will be partnering with the Burin Peninsula Health Care Foundation, as well as the health care centre, for the development of an autism-friendly space at the health care provider.
“It was something that I saw as a need for around here,” Pitcher told The Southern Gazette on April 8.
“Through working with children on the spectrum and hearing the stories of children on the spectrum going to the hospital and it ended up being a traumatic experience for them – them not being able to get the services that they went for.”
She explained that many times autistic children can be sensitive to the florescent lighting, the noise and the large amount of people in the waiting area of the hospital.
“I approached the hospital about this need and through the foundation and the hospital, they’ve decided to come on board and designate a first-ever autism space for our children to wait in,” she explained.
“Which will hopefully make the experience at the hospital much better for everyone; for the child, the parents, and for the service providers.”
Pitcher explained the first step is for the hospital to identify an area in the facility for the room.
“When we figure out that room, we will start making it autism friendly with the (proper) lighting, the colours and then adding some nice furnishings to it and toys that they can utilize.”
She also hopes a phone can be added so parents and caregivers can be advised when it is time to see a physician.
Pitcher said money for the room will come from fundraising efforts held at her restaurant in Burin; such as a fun run and a World Autism Day event where $1 from every food purchase goes towards autism services on the Burin Peninsula.
“Then it should be able to hopefully maintain itself, or if not then some money in the future can be planned to continue to fund it.”