By Christine Davis
It’s not often that a campaign’s goal is to raise nothing but awareness, but that’s just what Tikko Travels aims to do.
To coincide with Autism Awareness month, new book “Tikko Travels: Dorian’s Story” is a tale penned by Burlington’s Christine Poe that tells the story of her son, Dorian’s, autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and his desire to spread awareness of autism around the world.
In 2013 Dorian, who wanted the world to know that it’s okay to have autism spectrum disorder, asked his mom if his favourite teddy bear, Tikko, could travel the world spreading autism awareness. Since then various Tikko bears have done just that – a journey that’s chronicled on the Tikko Travels Facebook page.
In an effort to further spread awareness, Poe penned the book, which is about hope, and attempts to broach the subject and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in a fun way. Poe explains it as “a way to start the conversation” with both children and other family members and friends, as well as a way to “empower children to feel that an autism diagnosis makes them special and gives them purpose.”
Within the pages of the book, Poe describes living on the spectrum as “…a vibrant band of colours. If you live with autism, you’re part of a rainbow – a community where everyone is different in their own way…” It’s a beautiful description and introduction to the disorder that can manifest in countless ways.
Following Dorian’s diagnosis, Poe says he received the early intervention and special education he required to excel. And that’s exactly what she wants for others.
Though Tikko Travels does raise money, it’s not for profit purposes. The goal is to ship one of the some 600 Tikko bears the organization has received from maker Ganz as a donation to the cause, to those willing to travel with Tikko.
“We want to get the book around the world,” Poe explains. “As Tikko travels I research autism where he travels and post information about autism support there.”
While Poe’s ultimate hope is that one day there will be a special needs school board, she’s simply looking for acceptance in the meantime.
“Don’t give up hope,” Poe encourages others in her position. “We know what families are going through. These kids are bright and have special gifts…with the right support look what they can do. Look what Dorian is doing because he got support.”