Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Somali autism puzzle

Two of my friends sent me this article from the Globe and Mail. Interesting. Here is a quote from the article.
Ms. Hassan can barely afford organic food, let alone speech therapy. Ali and Abshir attend special education classes at a public school - but it's not enough.

Mohamed has 300 words, says Ms. Roble, and there are specialized communication devices with visual cues that could help him communicate. "But he needs one-on-one teaching, and we cannot afford it."

She, like Ms. Hassan, must wash, dress and feed her son, hold his hand when they walk down the street, and watch him at all times. What will happen when these boys turn 18?

The stress of caring for two autistic children and one learning-disabled child already pushed one Somali mother over the edge. She had a nervous breakdown and had to temporarily relinquish her kids to the Children's Aid Society.

Ms. Hassan and Ms. Roble vow to fight on. "We can't regret what we have. There are always others who suffer more," says Ms. Hassan. "But we need help."
I am so sorry. Unfortunately, the situation of that family is typical for Ontario: children without therapy sliding into mental retardation, and parents strained beyond their limits. But our elected officials at the same time are bragging how much "progress" they have made with autism programs, and government funded "experts" get very creative inventing new ways to terminate therapy for kids no matter how much it is needed.
For us parents, it feels like living in a nightmarish twilight zone. I do not know what it will take to get us out of it.

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