by Jenny Panda | Photos by Ann Kornuta

 “If you live with autism, you’re part of a rainbow – a community where everyone is different in their own way…and that’s okay!”

Autism Awareness Advocate and supportive, loving mother of an autistic nine year old son, Christine Frances Poe shares, “I’ve written a storybook that to the best of my knowledge is like no other…in that there really isn’t anything out there at the moment that can help families of young children on the spectrum in this capacity.”

Soft cover children’s book “TIKKO TRAVELS; Dorian’s Story”, is a source of comfort and reassurance for parents coming to terms with an autism diagnosis.  “By sharing Dorian’s past challenges”, Christine explained, “Our intent is to inspire HOPE and awareness that early intervention & educational support for children on the spectrum can make all the difference to their future, and their ability to give back to their community…even the world!”

“Celebrated for their wonderful uniqueness, humour, imagination and special gifts, children learn there is life beyond the label and that anything is possible!” For four years Tikko™, the fluffy white polar bear has travelled around the world for Autism Awareness.  Photographs have been collected, over 100 of which are featured in the back pages of “TIKKO TRAVELS” Storybook. Illustrator Jean Wilson has an honours degree in visual arts. Working for over 16 years as an Educational Assistant for autistic children she shows great sensitivity and skill in depicting Dorian’s story.  Christine says “our most favourite photo is of Dorian drawing a chalk rainbow on our driveway. Embracing this, Jean incorporated Dorian’s original rainbow into one of her illustrations.”

Christine Frances Poe is a Mompreneur member based out of Burlington, Ontario. She was a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneurs Momentum Award, for her work as founder of Tikko™.

Read about Christine’s inspiring journey at the Mompreneur site (along with blogs from other amazing Mompreneurs): http://themompreneur.com/blog/christine-poe-tikko/

My son Dorian was the inspiration to my becoming an entrepreneur. In 2013, at the age of 9, Dorian, who lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder, decided to send his plush polar bear Tikko™ out into the world to raise autism awareness. At the time, I was fundraising in my spare time to send Dorian to a special needs school.  His story is inspiring. Before early intervention, he was aggressive – he beat up on us; showing no remorse. He was kicked out of three pre-school daycares, had hour-long meltdowns throughout the day, lived in fear (of everything), and barely slept.

After 4 years working with teachers, EA’s, and specialists (we all had to be on the same page in regard to “strategies”), I was seeing a new Dorian – compassionate, funny, sweet and very loving. I thought of the other families out there struggling at the beginning of their journey. I wanted them to know “Dorian’s Story“. I knew it would inspire them to not give up hope.  Dorian is on his last year at Missing Links before integrating into high school). I never knew then how all-consuming my passion for Tikko™would be. This inspiration continues to touch others, whether living with autism or not, every single day.”

Tikko™, said nine year old Dorian, “If you were to travel around the world, you could talk to people about autism.  If they knew what autism was all about, they wouldn’t be afraid.  We’re not so different.  Maybe if they got to know us better, they’d be kinder; more patient and understanding?”

Four years later, Tikko™ is still travelling; inspiring acceptance across the globe! Christine will be doing a book reading and signing at Hawthorne Café in Milton on April 5th from 10 a.m. to noon where the book sale proceeds will go to Milton District Hospital Foundation.  There will be a second book reading and signing event on Sunday April 23rd at the Grambel Barn in Country Heritage Park (8560 Tremaine Road, Milton).

Jenny Panda
Author

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