Is ignorance really bliss?

Starting a new venture is hard, very hard in fact.  You place all of your time, energy and faith into something that you believe in more than anything.  Since our inception, the Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre has been so thankful for the ongoing support we have received from the media.  The article that was published on Monday in the National Post by reporter David Kates was by far for us the most exciting, and for reasons that may surprise you. Before I was a partner in the Lighthouse, I was a mother of a child with Autism. This role is the most important one in my life.   The feeling of loss was immense; not just with the diagnosis, but also a sense of loss of not knowing what to do.  Having a desire to help your child isn’t enough if the resources aren’t there to help you.  In his article Kates stated, “In Ontario parents of children with autism face long waiting lists or special education programs and extraordinary bills, all while navigating a system that, to this day, remains remarkably deficient in light of the demands placed upon it.”   Where are the streamlined services for children who are diagnosed with Autism?  Why are we left with a diagnosis and then just sent on our way to figure it out? According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control,  the current rate of Autism is 1:68; this new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the 2008 estimate (1:88), roughly 60% higher than the 2006 estimate (1 in 110) and roughly 120% higher than the 2002 and 2000 estimate (1 in 150).   Those increases are dramatic enough that one may hazard to classify Autism as an epidemic.  Kates states, “It’s a number that has continued to rise, and yet in many ways our ability to address this issue has struggled to keep pace.”  As a mother who has been on this journey now for 7 years, I would go one step further than that and say that not only have we struggled to keep pace, but rather we have been and continue to be negligent in every aspect on how we have dealt with this. As a parent with a child who has autism my days are exhausting, and on top of that I have to obtain a Google education on Autism and its treatments to have any hope in helping my son.  Some parents just don’t have enough hours in the day to do this; never mind parents who don’t speak English or have just come to the country.  How can we turn a blind eye to these families who so desperately need help?   1 in 10 Canadians will be touched by Autism at some point in their life, how much longer can we just keep ignoring that? As a business owner having the support of the National Post was amazing; as a mother having the issues we live with everyday addressed in a national newspaper is more than I could have ever asked for.  At some point ownership needs to be taken for this disgrace, and things need to change.  Aren’t our children worth it? Click here to read the full article in the National Post, featuring my story, and the struggle of so many other parents of children with Autism.  

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