VanIsleCon – A review from the perspective of parents of a High Functioning Spectrum child.


Having a kid on the Autism Spectrum you don’t know how any one event or trip out is going to go down,   you look for the exits,   you plan your escapes,  I remember a trip to Butchart Gardens for the fireworks.. Expected the worst,  but it turned out to be the best!!  Anyway,  I digress.

As the parent, you make sure there are quiet spaces and chill out places,  areas to go to jump and get muscle compression,  jumping/rolling etc and just ways for your kid to cope with high stress and big sensory inputs.  The location of Van Isle Con in the Mary Winspear Centre came through,  it had all we needed to make it a good experience so off we went!

No cover charge was awesome,  not because we are cheap but because anything could Set off our child into tantrums, screams and possibly flight (not literally flying!) and require us to leave,  a cover charge could be a 5 minute visit and money wasted.  I must say early diagnosis and early intervention has really helped Ethan,  I just hate to imagine what he would be like now if we had not pressed for him to be tested.

The location’s main hall was packed and allot of shufflers and bumpers were going around the hall,  was not like the Toy Fair where it can be shoulder to shoulder so it was not too bad for Ethan to handle,  We did see one person who did have a medical emergency and I pray it all worked out but its a high sensory environment with all the cosplay and vendors and excitement!!

It was great that had a chill out zone with a SNES and some heavy beanbag recliners,  allowed Ethan to do some flips and jumps on the bag and get that muscle impact which is good for his brain chemistry when he is in a highly charged highly stressed situation or has allot of sensory input,  he could focus on the classic SNES Mario,  a single sensory input (Games seem to help him recentre but too much can cause other issues I wont go into here) and relax a bit whilst “we”, SGMum AKA Michelle and SGDad AKA Robert were able to split off and toke a quick buzz around the hall to check out stalls, talk to vendors and share the work about Spectrum Gamer.

It was a great event that I think will be bigger and better next year but a good foundation for future CON’s.  With the failure of IFCON I think #yyj and Island Cosplayers have really been begging for something other than the Cherry Bomb Toys – Toy fair!! Also awesome btw!

Special thanks to all the organizers, The Dark Night of Victoria, Heroes Inc and the City of Sidney and all the sponsors!!


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