Monday, June 28, 2010

The most expensive 72 hours in Canadian history

I found a few articles about G20 costs:

New York Times:
Canada Agog at Security Price Tag for Summit

Here are some quotes:

But critics point out that Canada’s security expenses are several times larger than those of other recent summit meeting hosts.

The security costs for the Group of 20 meeting last year in Pittsburgh, for example, was about $95 million, slightly over a tenth of Canada’s budget, according to a study by Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Until this weekend, the highest security cost for a Group of 20 summit meeting was $345 million for the 2008 meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, the report said.

The Gazette:

Federal government 'transparent' on summit security costs: Watchdog

Here are some quotes: often-quoted figure for the 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh was $18 million for security, yet the figure accounted for only overtime costs for local and state police as well as expenses for visiting forces...
While the report does not detail how much money the government would have saved by using the military for security rather than the RCMP, a source said that it could have been "hundreds of millions."
Any comments? I do not even shake my head in disbelief any longer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ARO protests at G20

“Stop the autism crisis! ABA NOW!”
This rallying cry echoed across Queen’s Park today as parents of Autism Resolution Ontario demonstrated against Ontario’s inadequate, neglectful and harmful autism “intervention” policies at the G20 protest (see attached photo).
Despite the confiscation of ARO’s banner poles by police, which were deemed as potential weapons, and ongoing rain, ARO parents persisted in sharing their mission to achieve more accessible ABA therapy for kids with autism in this province with the public and other protesters, and our public display also attracted the attention of
The ARO strategy to protest Saturday morning proved to be wise since chaos and destruction started soon after.

Friday, June 25, 2010

At Queen's Park - day 84

I was working on Thursday, so I decided to come to Toronto a bit earlier and bring my protesting gear and do a little of pre-G20 summit protesting. I did not know what to expect. The day was hot. I parked my car near King and Younge and marched up with my sign up Younge street. I started seeing more and more police as I was coming up to Queen's Park: standing on the sidewalks, sitting in vans parked on the side of the street. I heard a lot on the radio about concrete barriers and people being checked for identification. Nobody approached me. I expected to see some demonstrations happening at Queen's Park, but what was a total surprise to me was that there was nobody there except a few regular tourist buses. Familiar Queen's Park guards asked few questions as usual--how long I would stay etc. They told me that there had been some protesters in the morning but they left, and it was actually quieter than normal. So I was there alone, looking down at College street, on a bright and sunny summer day, with sporadic tourists walking by. One young man asked me if I had seen a native demonstration. I told him that they left before I came. So I did not see any protesters, only one person looking for some. I did see a lot of police and the helicopters hovering over downtown. I was thinking about one billion dollars and what I would do with it.

Signs left behind by morning protesters.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day at the beach

The Hamilton beach is just a 15 minutes drive from our place. You are allowed to swim there if you dare to dip in the cold water. It is never crowded and it is free. Sebastian likes it there very much. He has eaten about pound of the brown sand so far, but slowly he is giving up on chewing it. I let him, suppressing my thoughts about parasites and bacteria--there are things he benefits from learning on his own. The cool breeze is a relief even on the hottest day. In the picture below, Sebastian is bravely entering the cold waters up to his waist for the first time. My son - the fearless explorer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Short summer nights

Before we started the GAPS diet about a year ago Sebastian often would sleep just few hours a day. He often stayed up all night after an evening nap, sleeping four - five hours a day for weeks. So when he started sleep longer, for eight to ten and sometimes even-twelve hours a day, it was a very welcome change. After time I got used to this new schedule and stopped associating his sleeping longer with the diet. He is growing up, I thought. And then he had to have his teeth removed and was put, with my consent, on antibiotics for almost two weeks. What was I thinking? Sebastian's stool, sleeping patterns, stimmimg, even some biting reverted to patterns from a year ago. His allergies returned so strong that antihistamines did not work.

Do I think that it is all related somehow? Yes I do. I know the GAPS diet now a little better and we started from the beginning again, but the progress is not as fast as I would wish for. His stool looks better, but only when we are completely off any even cooked fruit, and four hour sleep nights are back. Last night he fell asleep at two thirty in the morning. When he falls asleep earlier he wakes up at four, at dawn. I know that whole bunch of scientists are looking for a genetic cause of autism but I swear if he has any of my genetic material in him, four hours sleep at night is not in his genes!

And also, if genetic and not environmental causes are responsible for the epidemic of autism, why is it that about one in a hundred autistic kids recover (loose symptoms) spontaneously? I have never heard about somebody spontaneously "loosing symptoms" of Down's syndrome, or albinism.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Accident that almost happened

I have been teaching Sebastian not to step down on the street from the sidewalk since he started walking at ten months old. and since he was two, if the curb was well defined he would stay on the sidewalk. On Saturday I took him across the street from our house to say hello to our neighbors. I was holding his hand most of the time, and since he has known these surroundings since he was very little and we have done it hundred times before I let go of his hand. And the next second he just dashes out on the street straight in front of a passing car. The car was able to sway to the side and stop. We were all very shaken.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sleepless summer night

We had an awesome week. Sebastian slept better and did not have an allergy reactions for the entire week. I feel like we are on vacation. The weather is fantastic and we spend a lot of time outside. I found the first red raspberry on the buses in the yard the other day.

Yesterday Sebastian started fussing at about six in the evening. I am not sure if it was allergies or something else. He fell asleep soon after, exactly like a week ago. But this time he did not sleep all night through. Instead he woke up after midnight and is still up at ten in the morning. He is happy and energetic. I played his DVDs, and I only lightly snoozed through the night from being waken up often, and so I am tired now. I am working tonight, so I will have a late night today too. Thankfully tomorrow is Sunday, and I will have more good weather and time to recoup.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Little miracles

It is hard for me to explain how it feels to watch my sick child suffer and cry from pain for hours and not be able to help him.

Sebastian's allergic reactions are strong this year, and since conventional medicine had nothing for us to offer we tried an alternative naturopathic approach. I made an appointment at Optimum Wellness Clinic. They are very busy this time of the year, but they were kind enough to give us an appointment quickly. The treatment they offer is painless and non-invasive and can not do any harm. I collected a rain water sample from our yard, containing all the allergens Sebastian was exposed to. I cooked some food for the road, gave Sebastian a regular dose of antihistamines and off to Mississauga we went. I was hoping that (what else?) after the treatment the allergies would miraculously disappear, and I did not give him antihistamines in the afternoon. He had the reaction around six on the evening, and so I gave him the Benadryl, and drops, and he fell asleep right after. That was unusual. Lately he has difficulty falling asleep before midnight. I predicted that he will wake up after three or four hours like many times before, but I was wrong: he slept untill before 5 AM. He was very cranky, and crying, and I gave him antihistamine again, and eye drops, and painkiller. He kept crying. I put him in the car and drove to the waterfront park. Maybe there is less pollen in the breeze from the lake I thought. He kept crying and did not want to get out of the car.

What to do with a crying boy early in the morning? I thought about the filtered air they have in the hospital. Sebastian always feels better there. I started driving in the direction of the hospital. We do not have to check in I thought, just hang around in the waiting room for a while. That is all I could come up with at that time. Less than half way through to the hospital Sebastian stopped crying. I turned around and we went back to the park. Sebastian calmed down. We had a long walk.

It is Monday today and Sebastian has not had an allergy attack since. No antihistamines since Friday. He sleeps well. His eczema cleared up from his forearms. A coincidence or miracle we were waiting on for so long. I hope it lasts.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Urgent Care Centre

Sebastian's belly got better then worse, then worse again. His allergic reactions are out of control, eczema flared up like fresh rose buds on his arms, and when he does not cry from sandy eyes he stims hard. It is hard for him to fall asleep...

After hours of crying, since drops and over-the-counter medications did not work, I called the nurse. She heard his cries, and urged me to take him to the doctor. We went to Urgent Care Centre, Sebastian stopped crying in the car. There were twenty people before us at the waiting room, but we did not wait long. The doctor saw him, told me that I am doing "all the right things" and that the was not anything else she could recommend. "But," I pleaded, "the drops or antihistamines do not help!"

We came home. He was fine, just stimming like crazy till he fell asleep long after midnight.
Another day... down.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rain Boy

We had a quite a rough week. Sebastian's allergies were strong, and his belly did not work well. Lots of tears and stimming, and me thinking: how much more of this can I take?
It was raining a lot. Sebastian loves rain. He runs out again and again, puts his head under the rain spout, jumps and runs, exited by feeling of raindrops and wind on his skin. I was watching him enjoying those fleeting but ecstatically happy moments and I thought: rain boy....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day at Queen's Park

Yesterday I got up two hours early to get Sebastian's food ready for our day out. My throat was a little sore. I cooked soup, and fried some pancakes, packed extra clothes, and off we went. When we hit the hi-way Sebastian had a happy smirk on his face almost the whole time - he likes car rides. We arrived to Queen's Park little later than planned, and went to public gallery. I expected more parents and kids to be there but I could not spot any. There were plenty of school kids and tourists. I knew that Norrah Whitney and Paul Ceretti were there, and met them afterward. I think that the gallery should be filled up at every question period with autistic and disabled kids who are not receiving the services they need.

Sebastian was very good, and he sat most of the time beside me and on my lap, but when he wanted lie down on the bench we were sitting on I was happy to let him do that since there was plenty of room, and nobody sat beside us. Then the young security guard said we could not do that unless we moved to the back row. When Sebastian wiggled out of my arms and lied down on the floor I did let him do that. He is a little fellow now, but when he will be doing it as teenager-- and it is very likely he will keep reciting these behaviors without further therapy--this will no longer be such a harmless and cute thing to do.

The guards outside the Queen's Park building told me that I can not pull up mu sign when my car is parked in the front of it on the disabled parking spot. So I just snapped Sebastian's picture and went home.

After we came home I was feeling much worse. I fed Sebastian, turned his videos on and watched him roam around. I was feeling very very bad. I had a temperature, chills and a monster sore throat and headache. And that is when my friend Simon showed up. He fed Sebastian supper, gave him a bath, washed not only the the dishes, but also the floors - all when I was sleeping. Thank you Simon! When I woke up around eleven I still had a temperature but I felt much better. Today the sore throat and fever is still with me, but it is nothing I have not handled before with the magic of ibuprofen.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A press release by NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath:

Horwath raises conflict questions over autism benchmarking review

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Andrea Horwath says the McGuinty government must scrap the review of its controversial policy of benchmarking children with autism and start over with someone who is independent.

Through Freedom of Information, Horwath has uncovered problems with a Request for Proposals (RfP) and the subsequent contract issued to Dr. Louise LaRose by Ministry of Children and Youth Services in March, 2009.

“Oddly, this RfP was not broadly circulated nor posted on the MERX website, as is standard practice. After going through the F-O-I process, my office found the RfP was highly restrictive and invited one bid . . . a bid raising questions of conflicts of interest,” Horwath told the Legislature during Question Period. “How did such an important RfP become a sole source contract?”

LaRose requested more than $118,000 to conduct the review, but neglected to reference in her proposal document her previous work with the head of the Ministry’s panel on benchmarking. As well, LaRose works for CPRI, a children’s agency in London that is fully funded by the Ministry, a fact that puts her impartiality in question, Horwath said. Formerly LaRose was clinical director of the Thames Valley Children’s Centre and was responsible for discharging children from autism therapy.

“A contract valued at more than $118,000 on a subject as important as benchmarking children,
who might have their autism therapy terminated as a result, should be filled by the best and most qualified candidate,” Horwath said. “But there was no competition, no effort to expand the search and find someone who is absolutely independent of the government and the troubling decision to benchmark children with autism.”

With parents of children with autism who have lost their therapy watching in the Legislature today Horwath called on the Premier to order a new Request for Proposals to obtain an independent review of autism benchmarking in Ontario

Media contact: Sheila White 416-325-2777 or 416-902-0977