Formed in the Spring of 2016, Voices of Autism is focused on providing the Pacific Autism Family Network insight and input from the perspective of self-identifying individuals. Composed of a small group of advisors and one chair, Voices of Autism elects self-identifying individuals to provide input on communications, design and artwork, stakeholder engagement, program development, and event hosting. Voices of Autism was responsible for informing the PAFN on design elements of the Centre including murals, decals and signage as well as programs and stakeholder engagement.
Meet the Advisors
John Appleby is an advisor from Burnaby, British Columbia. Diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 12, John brings a unique perspective of life on the spectrum. John has gained confidence and become open to new experiences in his adult life. He participated in a Q&A panel with other autistic people and enjoys offering insights and reassuring words to parents. John desires to see other young autistic people grow with independence and self-determination. He hopes to see autistic people confront the challenges they face while simultaneously ensuring non-autistic people offer their support. In his pare time John enjoys studying, playing video games, watching YouTube as well as skiing and walking. For him there are always new lessons in trying to make sense of life.
Erin Boe is a Richmond advisor for the Voices of Autism (VOA), a group created to advise the Pacific Autism Family Network, and who strive to help to define and determine best methods to hep create positive impact in our local communities. Erin likes working with others who identify as autistic, bouncing ideas and sharing thoughts and experiences. She enjoys the camaraderie of being amongst others who may have gone through similar experiences as her and hopes to continue creating change and feel an achievement in reaching that goal.
Lucas Gates is a proud advocate, helping those with autism and making the community even stronger. Lucas is a born-and-raised third-generation Vancouverite and is proud to live in a city and province that makes diversity even stronger, and plans on staying here for the long-haul. Lucas’s position with the Voices of Autism is Community Liaison and VOA advisor. In his work with the Voices of Autism Lucas has played a key role in community outreach. Lucas in his spare time, enjoys taking time to the fullest by enjoying Vancouver weather, plays video games either privately or streaming and just generally enjoys life!
Rebekah Kintzinger is a mentor for autistic members of her community in Kelowna, BC, working with those who have specific needs or goals, and range from child to adult. As well as being on the board of directors for the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance, she is also an Okanagan Advisor for the Pacific Family Autism Network’s Voices of Autism program. She also offers her time as a volunteer in a literacy program and with a community Christmas hamper program to keep her busy. She once helped to organize a rally for teachers, and her speech at the rally was posted on YouTube in addition to being in a Vancouver Sun article. Rebekah is very creative, and aside from loving to draw and write she also appreciates cooking for her two boys, and acting out scenes from Monty Python with them.
Evan Noble lives in Kelowna, BC., and works as an intern as part of the Business Risk Management Branch at the Ministry of Agriculture. Evan has always felt that it is important to teach others about the strengths and challenges of living with autism. He is an active community volunteer, having spoken about his life with autism on several occasions. Evan sits on the advisory council for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism. In his spare time, he enjoys sports such as running, cycling, skiing, and hockey, as well as playing video games and watching movies. He also has an interest in photography and loves to travel.
Nicole Provost studied at UBC and has founded her own non-profit organization, the Mayday Club Youth Choir. Nicole got the inspiration for Mayday, after watching a younger child struggle with behaviour in a choir that she used to sing in as a teenager. As someone with ASD, Nicole empathized with the child and resolved to start her own choir one day, where kids would be free to participate in any way that feels natural to them. 2 short years later after hard work and resilience, Nicole now conducts a professional 45-voice youth choir, for individuals ages 4-30, on the autism spectrum. The majority of the youth involved with Mayday experience significant bullying in school or at work, and face issues such as PTSD, anxiety, etc. Nicole continually draws upon her own personal experiences to which inspires everyone around her. Nicole makes everyone feel valued, good about themselves and has created a club based around acceptance and friendship.
Joshua Scheller is a representative of the Pacific Autism Family Network. Josh can be found running reception like a pro. As well as learning about himself and his journey, Josh is an advisor for the Voices of Autism. Josh has many talents but he’s our resident Dad-jokes guy. Joshua has been an active member of the Voices of Autism for 3 years and has been creating and delivering public workshops and presentations as well as running booths and tables at events. Josh has presented to groups of up to 200 people and engages people in conversation with wit and a cheeky grin. Josh has a companion, Wabi, who is his support dog. Wabi is a big part of our team as well. He’s not so big on contributing to our conversations but it’s nice to have him there for moral support.
Kayla Tellier has been a member of the Voices of Autism since 2018. Kayla brings positive energy to every interaction. Outside of the Voices of Autism, Kayla is quite involved in the community; she creates and delivers acting classes and workshops with Autism BC and the Canucks Autism Network. Kayla is also on the Canucks Autism Network Training Team. Kayla participated in the Pacific Autism Family Network police training videos. Other passions for Kayla include acting, writing, filming and does a lot of work with small screen productions. Kayla can be seen in some of your favourite tv shows. Which ones? You’ll have to visit to find out.
SF Walker is the Manager of the Voices of Autism (VOA). She has an extensive teaching background teaching to students of all ages and skill levels having earned a degree in Special Education and Teaching from Missouri State University. The Voices of Autism has been an integral part of the Pacific Autism Family Network helping to define goals, advise on building/program design and creating opportunities for people to come together both professionally, as in our speaker series, and personally with our events. Within the VOA, SF has a team of advisors from across British Columbia, helping to define and determine best methods for affecting positive change in our communities. SF enjoys working with other people with ASD for their perspective and working with a team of peers. As a person who has autism SF is extremely proud to work with such brilliant minds. When not in the office, SF can be found writing and playing music, creating new recipes or zoning out with her cat/favourite being, Ryder.