Pam Olsson launched Unique Excellence, a business that supports people and families who are neurodiverse. (Contributed)

Pam Olsson launched Unique Excellence, a business that supports people and families who are neurodiverse. (Contributed)

Living with neurodiversity: Business launched in Revelstoke

Pam Olsson noticed a gap in services and wants to help people and families with autism

A new business has popped up in Revelstoke aimed at helping people and families living with neurodiversity.

People who are neurodiverse include those with autism, ADHD or other variations in the human brain that impact sociability, learning, attention, mood and other brain functions.

As a parent with children who are neurodiverse, Pam Olsson noticed a gap in services between when concerns or behaviours first pop up and when treatment can be accessed.

“When I started with my kids I was overwhelmed,” she said.

According to a 2018 report from the Public Health Agency of Canada, an estimated one in 42 males between the ages of five and 17 years old in Canada have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For females the number is one in 165 for the same age group.

At Unique Excellence, Olsson sits with clients to hear their story and works with them to create a simple, step by step supportive action plan, which includes resources, referrals, guidance and information regarding options and supports.

Autism is not something that needs to be fixed as people who are on the spectrum should not need to change to fit into society, she said.

READ MORE: Online entrepreneur launches plus size snow gear store in North America

Instead, people who are neurodiverse need to learn emotional, sensory and social regulation which is how their body finds balance and productivity.

For Olsson, that includes meditation, music, movement, hot baths and spending time with trusted friends, family and her dog Luna.

Olsson, who grew up in Revelstoke went away as an adult, but came back, and was diagnosed with autism at age 39.

As a child, she struggled to focus in class and socialize. In high school the social issues became debilitating.

As an adult, she had trouble getting jobs, bombing every job interview no matter how qualified she was for the position – as soon as she knew someone was evaluating her she had trouble speaking.

People thought she was shy. “I spent many years feeling stupid and like I was different from everyone else,” she said.

While completing her master of arts in education, Olsson had to complete a reflective learning assignment that required her to think about her experiences as a child.

With an undergraduate degree in psychology under her belt as well as a social service worker certificate, it dawned on Olsson that she might be neurodiverse.

So, she had a full assessment and was diagnosed with autism, which, for her, includes ADHD.

Olsson said if she had known earlier in her life, she could have worked with her strengths instead of fighting to excel at things she would never be good at.

Olsson said she doesn’t blame her family or the institutions she was a part of for not recognizing she was neurodiverse, as the information available at the time was lacking.

Olsson said girls and women with autism often go undiagnosed for two reasons – first, being the disorder can present differently in men and women; and second, women are good at masking it.

“That is how people fall through the cracks,” said Olsson.

She hopes through her advocacy and business she can contribute towards a more inclusive society where neurodiverse needs are included in school curriculum and represented in society.

“The focus should be less on assimilating us into neurotypical thinkers and more on developing our strengths while helping us find ways to regulate based on our unique needs,” she said.

“Regulated people do not socially isolate themselves, exhibit avoidance behaviours or cause disruption.”

Find out more information about Unique Excellence at uniqueexcellence.ca

READ MORE: Revelstoke Legion opens Bargain Basement


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Christmas Lights
This nativity scene at the home of Paul Biro, organizer of the Summerland Drive-By Light Up, was just one of many parts of his elaborate display. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
VIDEO: Summerland holiday lights on display

Drive-by light-up on Nov. 27 showed some of the many festive season decorations

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

A Summerland municipal employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Summerland Review file photo)
Summerland municipal employee tests positive for COVID-19

Employee now self-isolating and recovering at home

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read