Friday, December 30, 2011


Ayn with some stuffed toys
An autistic child knows where he or she wants to go but lacks the words to tell you, so often simply takes off. A child like Ayn with this developmental disorder, a severe form of autism, has difficulty communicating and socializing. A dangerous aspect of autism is the tendency to run away from home or adult supervision. It causes endless stress for parents. And in Derek Hoare’s case, it has caused the removal of his daughter Ayn from his home and custody.

The MCFD employees that have taken her believe they have done something in the child’s best interest, but the action has simply created the most unnecessary and vicious wounds to a fragile mind and psyche.

Derek conscientiously had an eye on the door all of the time. His house is equipped with window and door locks beyond what is customary in our homes. Guarding against the wandering tendency may be the hardest part of raising an autistic child and Derek has two of them. The yard around the home is protected by a high fence but a ten year old autistic child can and will find a way to scale the barrier and Ayn did that. Autism groups refer to this tendency as ‘wandering’ or ‘elopement’ behaviour. It is the habit of fleeing a place at any moment. And of course the danger is real since wandering is the leading cause of death among children with autism. And drowning is most common among those related fatalities. And sure, Ayn was found in a neighbour’s yard with a pool, albeit a kiddy’s pool.

Yet notwithstanding the grave concern over such wandering behaviour, autism groups and parents of autistic children find it deplorable that authorities consider it a viable and beneficial response to a reported missing child, to take that child away from the parents when the parent is known in his community and peer group as a dedicated and conscientious father. That is the case for Derek. Coming on the pretense of inquiring the father's explanation for the 'wandering' incident but having a prepared custody release form in pocket having intended to remove the child regardless of the interaction may be official but it is more accurately appalling.

A WORD TO MCFD: There must be a promotion of understanding about the wandering tendency of autism and do you know who should be spear-heading that – the Ministry of Children and Family Development. If MCFD wants to serve families and our communities and this province put your money and energy in services like that. Without that promotion, police, teachers and neighbours will continue to blame parents when the child is missing again. Doctors too have to upgrade their understanding rather than feed parents false hopes that the autism symptoms will markedly improve. It would be more helpful for doctors to know of support to which they can refer grieving parents who struggle to deal with the reality that their child is severely autistic.Yet in order for MCFD to comprehend the value of promoting this understanding about the 'wandering' bent of autistic children, the entire ministry must become educated. That is not difficult to do. The Internet itself provides social workers with a self-educational opportunity and soon the entire ministry could be persuaded and could be a great deal more gracious to parents whose lives are already sorely tested by their daily demands. What you have presently done, pretending to help by taking away Derek's responsibilities for Ayn, is to treat her like a machine or even an animal. And to have begun drugging this child three days after you took her is beyond descriptive words.

1 comment:

  1. There is so much travesty for the autisitc child and parents. Pray God improvements will be made in treating this and supporting the parents.You are doing great work Teena.


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