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Beyond the Stereotypes: Virtual Learning Platform Highlights Neurodivergent and Autistic Voices

Beyond Stereotypes series from Joyful Learning offers authentic virtual resources for kids, parents and teachers who want to grow in their knowledge and understanding of autism and neurodiversity - all designed by Autistic and neurodivergent creators.

This April, join Joyful Learning as we move beyond ‘Autism Awareness’ toward understanding, accepting, and appreciating the diverse experiences and contributions of autistic and neurodivergent people!


“As a neurodivergent person who has experienced discrimination and mistreatment because of my invisible disabilities, raising awareness and promoting acceptance is an area of passion for me,” says Hayley Legassie, Lead Educator and founder at Joyful Learning. “And as a mom helping two amazing neurodivergent kids navigate a world that is not designed for their brains, this series is definitely something that I will continue to develop over time.”


The Beyond the Stereotypes series includes virtual author visits and events featuring people living with visible and invisible disabilities and is highlighting neurodivergent and autistic voices during Autism Acceptance Month. “Bringing in neurodivergent voices and representation to our audience at Joyful Learning gives students and educators a chance to view life from a new perspective, and to have greater understanding and acceptance of those whose brains work differently than theirs!” says Legassie.

Joyful Learning’s events have been enjoyed by thousands of students across Canada and the United States since it was founded in Spring 2020. Irene Janssen, a teacher in Chilliwack, BC who has attended numerous Joyful Learning events says “I love the opportunity for my students to see real people and hear about their stories and their journeys.” Speaking specifically about the disability awareness events in the Beyond the Stereotypes series, she adds “It enhances their experience and hopefully makes them more empathetic.”


Free Resources & Author Visits

Joyful Learning has collaborated with members of the autistic community to create a collection of free resources including an interactive Virtual Classroom filled with informational kid-friendly videos and read-aloud books about autism, neurodiversity, and inclusion. SEE ALL RESOURCES


This April, Joyful Learning is welcoming autistic and neurodivergent authors to share their stories and talk about their experiences living with brains that work a bit differently.


The series begins on April 5th with an author visit with Dr. Melanie Heyworth, Founder and CEO of Reframing Autism - a non-profit organization that celebrates and nurtures Autistic identities. “At Reframing Autism we want the Autistic community to be accepted, respected, embraced, and empowered,” says Heyworth whose book Just Right For You offers a warm, optimistic way of introducing Autism and embracing differences of all kinds.


The series also features a kid-friendly introduction to Neurodiversity with Autistic author Sally J. Pla on April 12th and an author visit with Lindsey Rowe Parker about Understanding Sensory Differences on April 26th.


“Acknowledging these differences from a place of understanding and compassion empowers neurodivergent kids and helps them feel seen, known, and loved — just as they are,” says neurodivergent author Lindsey Rowe Parker, creator of Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down, a book about sensory differences.


All events and resources in this series are available for free or by donation and can be enjoyed live or via the recording at a time that works best for you! For more information and for tickets visit joyfullearning.net/autism



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About Joyful Learning

Joyful Learning is a project of Legassie Education Access Foundation (LEAF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of affordable, community-connected educational experiences and resources that spark joy, wonder, and a love of learning! Founded by Hayley & Jonathan Legassie in Spring 2020, Joyful Learning was initially created as a home learning plan for their own children but has since evolved into a platform serving thousands of children and teachers all across North America. To learn more, visit us at joyfullearning.net