Thursday, October 29, 2009

Connecting with Parents at Queen's Park

Yesterday was one of the biggest disappointments I have ever had, but today is another day. Sebastian was at school, and he had a pretty good day - no meltdowns so far. I went to my dentist appointment. I cut my hair short yesterday, since Sebastian started to have more of his tantrums. When this happens, he gets in to my hair--literally!

But this morning when I woke up, I thought that thanks to yesterday's TV show I have lost my innocence. I believed that Canada is a "good country". Canada is still a good country, unless you happen to be vulnerable and/or "underprivileged" (isn't this the same thing?). I believed that if I told the truth, explained what is the best thing to do, I'd be heard.

In the commentary to yesterday's documentary it was implied that I am looking for more money from the government for my boy. That is not quite accurate. School boards receive over $60 000/year for each severely handicapped child in their system. This money is not assigned to the child per se, and can be usefully spent on improving accessibility by building wheel chair ramps and other infrastructure. Or it can be spent on creating yet another commission, or writing a few more reports about how wonderfully handicapped kids do in our schools. If that money were directly assigned to Sebastian it would be enough to buy him 10 months of therapy from a private provider. So,to summarize: the money is spent, Sebastian does not get therapy, and in consequence his functioning will not improve, and might very well deteriorate. Furthermore, no one is accountable for how this money is or isn't spent on Sebastian, and whether he will actually benefit from it or not.

I explained this to CBC, but these details were not included in the clip. When they were filming at Queen's Park we were approached by one of the workers who was installing new cables there. His name is William and he is the father of two autistic children. His older son was waiting so long for therapy that he became "too old" to receive it. William's younger daughter is still waiting for an official diagnosis to get on the waiting list. So both of his children never received and are not receiving services. Because of this paper shuffling by the Ministry of Children and Social Services, neither of William's children are on the waiting list for therapy. CBC interviewed William but did not include him in the program. Instead, they invited a person who explained that my problem is not lack of services, but a failure to connect with community.

Maybe they are right. CONNECTING is the way to go.

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