New Brunswick election 2014 is underway with the NDP, Liberal, Green and PANB parties going all out to replace the PC party. Party signs are proliferating around the city of Fredericton. The Liberal Party kicked off big time in Fredericton with special guest federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and provincial leader Brian Gallant. It was a lively, well organized event and the optimism was clear. I enjoyed my brief chat with the charming greeting ladies pictured outside the Fredericton Ex building. In a general sense I enjoy elections, I firmly believe, despite the many legitimate bases for criticism that (Read more…)
Photo of my son Conor from a few years ago submitted to the Aquinian for an article by then Aquinian journalism student Karissa Donkin. No progress in residential care and treatment for severely autistic adults in New Brunswick has been made since that article or since Conor’s autism diagnosis 16 years ago at age 2
June 18, 2014
Dear Mr Alward, Mr Cardy, Mr Coon and Mr Gallant:
A provincial election will soon be held and one of you will be premier, once again if it is Mr Alward, for the first time if it is Mr Cardy, Mr Coon (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Dear Mr Alward, Cardy, Coon, Gallant: New Brunswick Still Needs A Permanent Residential Care and Treatment Centre For Severely Autistic Adults
We were cleaning books and papers out of the “China Cabinet” in our kitchen today. We had never stored China there only photos, albums and papers. Like other China Cabinets though there were glass doors on the front through which you could view the China. Over time Conor had, on different occasions, while suffering meltdowns, put his hands though the glass windows. I thought I had gotten all the glass out on each occasion but today after moving a group of albums I found some shards of glass, shards of severe autism realities. Such events are not talked about (Read more…)
I didn’t see this autism “controversy” brewing. The authors of an article published in the Sage Autism journal have challenged the credibility of the US CDC autism prevalence figures. The full article is on line and free for viewing (PDF also available free) at: Should we believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates? David Mandell Luc Lecavalier “In March 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their most recent estimate of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children aged 8 years (CDC, 2014). Their startling finding was that 1 (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: US CDC Autism Prevalence Estimates Challenged
NB Premier David Alward whose government has Produced a New Autism Intervention Policy with No Provision for Funding Training of Autism Support Workers treating New Brunswick’s autistic pre-schoolers. The next time you sit in a dentist’s chair will you have to wonder whether the dental assistant or even the dentist is properly trained? Will you have to ask whether your child’s teacher has a university education? The answer to both of these questions is obviously no. Medical and education workers generally are required to be properly trained. Nor do we want untrained “mechanics” servicing our cars. In New Brunswick (Read more…)
Pictures above and below: Inclusion done right at Leo Hayes High School Resource Centre Pictures courtesy of Steve at the LHHS Resource Centre
Inclusion done wrong is inclusion as advocated by Gordon Porter of the CACL and NBACL, and the current Conservative government which has very close ties to Mr Porter and the NBACL According to them inclusion means that ALL children, including those with severe disabilities like my son Conor MUST be educated in the regular classroom. This is a philosophical belief held by Gordon Porter and those who follow, in a cult like fashion, his teachings. (Read more…)
I could write about how Doug Ford’s comments on a group home showed he was ignorant, selfish, and a shameless liar. I might as well write water is wet. Doug’s comments were despicable and the worst kind of populist fear mongering. In other words, exactly what you would expect to hear from him. I don’t […]
CNN which loves to portray high functioning autism and Aspergers as autism has done it again with a feature called “Autism Is Growing Up” which … of course … features only adult persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers. In fact CNN and its accomplice Francesca Happé present 7 full stories of persons with high functioning autism and Aspergers. In addition an 8th adult with Aspergers, Canadian Zoey Roberts, is featured on the opening page of this creative portrayal of Aspergers as autism telling people that “autism is not a tragedy” which of course it isn’t if you happen to exist on (Read more…)
Dear Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford, as the father of a son with severe autism disorder, my son Conor pictured above, I want to reassure you that you needn’t be so afraid of autistic kids. If you actually get to know any you may find they can even bring a smile to your day.
Doug Ford has stood by his comments that a group home for children and youth with autism is ruining his community. While his statement, as I said yesterday, is contemptible, and makes no sense, maybe inside that big, thug like appearance is just a scared little (Read more…)
Is Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford so contemptible as to verbally attack autistic children residing at a home for children with autism? con·tempt·ible
: not worthy of respect or approval : deserving contempt “Contemptible.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 18 May 2014.
The Toronto Star reports that Doug Ford, yup, Toronto Councillor Doug Ford, brother of the allegedly rehab dwelling Mayor Rob Ford, thinks that a treatment home for kids with autism ruined the community. Doug Ford, constantly defending and enabling his brother, the Toronto mayor filmed with crack pipes in his (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Toronto Star: Toronto Councillor Doug Ford Believes Treatment Home for Kids with Autism "Ruined the Community"
Shannon Hill of Saskatchewan, parent of a child on the autism spectrum, Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst, (Florida Institute of Technology ABA program), autism advocate and BA (Psychology) Following is a letter written by Shannon Hill to Linda Restau director of continuing care and rehabilitation for the Ministry of Health, Province of Saskatchewan, including comments on ABA and its benefits for autistic children. “Dear Ms. Restau, I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the article presented by Ashley Wills of 650 CKOM April 22, 2014. In the article you state with regard to Saskatchewan’s funding for ASD (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Shannon Hill Speaks Up About About ABA Autism Intervention Benefits and Autism "Services" in Saskatchewan
Photo from Ameriquebec.net
In December 2007 I wrote Canada’s Autism Disgrace, describing the lack of a real National Autism Strategy in Canada. It is now 2014 and nothing has changed. Canada still lacks a real National Autism Strategy. The words I wrote in 2007, reprinted below, are as true and accurate today as they were then:
What is Canada’s National Autism Strategy? The answer is simple; we don’t have one. And as long as Stephen Harper’s Reform-Alliance-Conservative government rules Canada with an iron fist we will not have a National Autism Strategy. My friends of Conservative background (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Canada’s Autism Disgrace 2007: 2014 Update
Gordon Porter believes that inclusive education is simple. Unfortunately most teachers, the NBTA organisation itself, aides and education administrators have been bullied and intimidated into following his simple philosophy unquestioningly even though they know it flies in the face of the truth. They know that many children are present in NB schools with complex learning, behavior, cognitive and sensory challenges which render education under any label anything but simple buy they dare not speak out. More and more children are, and with the current Bill 61, An Act to Amend the Education Act, more and more in future (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Gordon Porter’s Vanity And Bill 61, An Act To Amend The Education Act, Will Result in MORE EXCLUSIONARY Education Practices in New Brunswick Schools
Apparently Saskatchewan is still have difficulty providing necessary levels of early autism intervention. I once described it in a September 2, 2007 commentary as Canada’s Autism Wasteland: Canada’s Autism Wasteland To Take First Step Forward. At the time of my commentary Saskatchewan was one of the few provinces with no intervention program for autistic children. A Global News article by Amber Rockliffe, Saskatchewan Families Moving Due to Lack of Autism Funding indicates that not enough hours of intervention are being delivered to Saskatchewan’s autistic children and some families are moving out of province to find the help (Read more…)
Conor looking cool, calm and composed in his grandparents’ yard in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in November. This morning he showed just as much calm while enduring an early morning blood sample needle.
We were, once again, very proud of our Conor today. Not for demonstrating some special “autism” skill, not for anything that would be featured in a sensational media story. We were proud because Conor had blood tests scheduled again at the DECH, the local hospital where Conor spent 2 weeks in hospital last year, including 6 days in the Intensive Care Unit. He had blood tests scheduled (Read more…)
There can be hope for children with autism in BC schools Parents want evidence‐based learning programs and supports established in all B.C. school districts. February 17 2014, Surrey, BC: Recent news stories such as the Seclusion and Restraint report and most recently the story of Susan DeBeck, a Vancouver teacher who claims she was fired for standing up for her students with special needs, shows the education system is in a state of crisis when it comes to providing appropriate supports for students with special needs. A local non‐profit autism support group is reaching (Read more…)
In Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity, published in the Lancet, Dr Philippe Grandjean MD and Philip J Landrigan MD, propose a global prevention strategy to address the impact of developmental neurotoxicants and the increasing numbers of children with developmental disabilities including autism, ADHD and intellectual disabilities. As the article abstract points out the authors had conducted an earlier systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants with six additional developmental intoxicants identified since then:
Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be (Read more…)
Conor went to bed at his usual time tonight. After about an hour he got up to use the washroom. As he was heading back to his room he said in his own manner of speech “See you at 6″ which is the exact time he gets up every morning. He then puts CBC NB Morning news with Terry Seguin on the television. When Conor says see you at 6 it makes me, and his Mom, feel very good. Every day, starting at 6 Conor brings us joy … great joy … starting at 6 am.
2013 was a challenging year for Conor and Dad health wise. I spent a week in acute care with some respiratory issues and Conor spent 2 weeks in hospital, including a six day stay in the ICU recovering from a life threatening adverse reaction to his seizure medication. Overall though life was good in 2013, including life in Conor’s “back yard”, Fredericton’s North Riverfront Trail. We are just a couple minutes walk from the trail and the St. John River and we enjoyed the trail as often we could.
. . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: Life in Conor’s "Back Yard", Fredericton’s North Riverfront Trail, in 2013
The belief that there is a single defining autism spectrum disorder brain dysfunction must be relinquished. – Waterhouse and Gillberg, Why Autism Must Be Taken Apart I am not going to offer too much comment on the article by Lynn Waterhouse and Christopher Gillberg itself which, as the title indicates, argues that autism must be taken apart, at least for research purposes. I have not yet purchased or read the article. The abstract speaks very clearly and even I, as an ignorant, hysterical, misguided parent of a son WITH severe autism disorder, intellectual disability and epileptic seizures can understand. Waterhouse (Read more…)
Following this comment is a re-posting of a comment I posted on this site 7 years ago in 2007 about the abysmal state of autism youth and adult residential care and treatment in New Brunswick, Canada. 7 years later and nothing has changed. Well, one thing has changed, a very important part of my life has changed.
My son with severe autism and intellectual disability is now 7 years older…. and his Mom and Dad are also 7 years older.
Time marches on. Our autistic children are becoming autistic adults. Our political and government leaders have sat on the sidelines (Read more…)
The Simon Foundation Autism Research Initiative, SFARI, continues to represent studies involving only high functioning autistic participants to the public as “autism” studies. In the Children with autism have trouble recalling memories article posted January 3, 2014 SFARI reports as an “autism” study a study which excluded as participants the 50% of those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder who also have an intell5ectual disability (World Health Organization estimate, September 2013):
“Children with autism have trouble recalling memories
Laura Geggel 3 January 2014 Children with autism struggle to remember details of events from their own lives, reports (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: SFARI Continues Misrepresenting High Functioning Autism Only Research As "Autism" Research
The allegedly UNBREAKABLE blade of my window ice scraper snapped off under the strain of several days of heavy ice scraping in this December’s cold and snowy Canadian winter weather. In fairness to the manufacturers and distributors of the “Unbreakable” ice scraper blade I have used it well past the 3 year limited warranty and it has seen lots of use in previous Canuck winters. People, including parents of severely autistic children, can also break particularly if they face other socio-economic and/or family and challenges.
Not all parents break in the face of the challenges and fears that haunt (Read more…)
Some promote the view that autism disorders are “gifts” if only society could understand, change its ways and accept the gifts. The autism as a gift view, is irrational nonsense. It thrives by simply ignoring the evidence of challenges presented by autism disorders including those like wandering or elopement which sometimes lead to tragic consequences.
Like many with autism disorders my son once left our home unnoticed – he slipped out of the house while I was occupied on a business call. When the call ended and I couldn’t find him I called 911 and was able to recover him (Read more…)
Conor would always react negatively when he heard the Hershey’s Kisses Christmas bells commercial. The sound of the bells, even the sight of the bells, almost invariably agitated him. Recently I recorded a couple of Frosty the Snowman shows for Conor using our television DVR system. The Hershey’s Kisses Christmas bells commercial was included as one of the commercials during the broadcast of the Frosty episodes. Today I grabbed a coffee from the kitchen to go back upstairs to do some work on my laptop and realized Conor was playing, and replaying several times, the Hershey’s Kisses Christmas bells commercial (Read more…)