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Removing the mask on ASD

author: alexa lawlor | staff writer

Autism, though less visible, affects the lives of thousands of Canadian families. | Photo credit: pixabay

Masquerade ball raising funds for two autism resource funds.

On April 22, get ready for an event full of entertainment, dancing and mystery, because a masquerade ball is coming to Regina. The ball is a fundraiser in support of families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) held at the German Club, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Casey Foundation and the Autism Resource Centre. One of the main sponsors for the event is En Vogue Day Spa, who will be donating $1,000 straight to the Casey Foundation, as well as donating a gift basket for the silent auction.

The masquerade ball will be jam-packed with tons of exciting things. The itinerary for the event includes cocktails and supper, as well as a live DJ, performances by Latin Fusion, and local band Trigger Bang. There will be door prizes, a raffle, and a silent auction that will also be happening throughout the night. In addition to all of these exciting things, a live painting by Justine Marie will also be taking place.

The idea behind the masquerade ball, according to the event’s organizer, Dawn Skwernuik, stemmed from the fact that “autism come[s] in all different faces and all different ways.”

She continued to mention that the idea originated in a conversation between her and a friend, who were brainstorming ideas for the event.

“Masquerade is really fantastic because a lot of people will see people with disabilities and usually they’ll see it right away, but with autism you don’t see it right away. It’s a social thing usually, so you put the mask on and you can be whoever you want, whatever you want.”

The main reason that Skwernuik is hosting the event is because of her daughter, London, who was diagnosed with autism when she was two:

She’s a loveable sweet kid. I like the fact that they have a certain label on it, but at the same time I don’t, because there’s such a large spectrum. Autism is quite varied, you either have someone that’s high functioning, someone that’s lower functioning, or someone that’s in between, someone that’s a little more aggressive and hyper, or someone that’s more quiet and shy. So it’s just, it’s a huge spectrum. London more so lands on the quiet and the shy versus anything else, but she’s starting to become a little more social, a little more outgoing and what not, but she’s just…she’s an angel, she’s absolutely an angel. So, when [it comes to] labels, people [usually] think aggressive and hyper. Once they meet her, they’re like ‘I didn’t even know she was autistic’ and it’s like, ‘yeah, because you’re a little blind to what autism is.’ Like, it’s not one generic thing, it’s several.

The masquerade ball is open to all ages, so feel free to bring anyone from children to grandparents!

“Everyone’s welcome. It doesn’t matter who you are. You know, you can wear a mask of Batman, you can wear an elegant mask or I don’t know, a princess. It really doesn’t matter, anything you want to be, you can that day,” says Skwernuik, who also mentioned that her daughter, London, will be there as well.

Tickets are available for $40 at En Vogue Day Spa or the German Club, but only up until a week before the event, so get your tickets now!

About Ethan Butterfield