Re: "Autism treatment: take a number," the Now, Feb. 5.
It is sad to see that 11 years after my son was officially diagnosed with autism, people are still struggling to have their children diagnosed and waiting for services.
My son, who is almost 17, was diagnosed when he was six years old. He finally started to speak in sentences after his fourth year but the social skills were just not there.
Now in high school, he has trouble socially - peers reject him because he is different. The kids that were his "friends" in elementary school pretended not to know him or bullied him as soon as they hit high school, which is sad.
We had him in social groups and did everything that we were told to do to help him. We had to fight for every support with the Surrey school district in the early days and spent countless hours in meetings trying to get help at the school level with that $18,000 that the school system provides for autistic kids.
What a fight. It turned us into bitter, anxiety ridden, crazed people. And the $6,000 to help him at home we had to navigate as best we could. In our experience, the behaviour interventionists were little more then special babysitters and we did not find them online - they were provided by agencies.
Over the years, we have realized that no matter what we did, our son had autism and that was never going to change. Yes, he can talk and he is doing well in school and is on track to graduate, but everything else that comes with autism is still there and will never go away. No amount of stressing out and fighting will change that.
The province needs to set up a better system for autism funding/help - like a centre where families go to in their communities. These centres should provide them with diagnosis, a behaviour plan as what should be done (speech therapy, behaviour therapy, etc.) and then go from there. Parents should not be left to figure out on their own and have to wait on ridiculously long waiting lists.
We have accepted the fact that our son's life will always be different from others his age. With this we have let go and let the cards fall where they may.
All that is important to us now is that he is happy and safe. No amount of therapy made any difference in his life. Our days of stressing out are long over and because of this we are all at peace.
C. Litonjua, Surrey