Thursday, January 19, 2012


Ayn has such a great smile!
Ayn Van Dyk has a wonderful smile. She smiles for her daddy. She should be at home with him but she is not.

You may be shocked to learn that she has not been in that family home since June 16, 2011.

She is a girl with a condition known as Autism.

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger Syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met.

It is unfortunate that she has it because it causes her to behave in ways that are deemed abnormal but not in ways that should ever be considered criminal. While the social workers associated with her present case have not classified her as criminal, their treatment of her over the past seven months is criminal. Perhaps not in the technical or legal sense because they are fully justified by law and ACT for what they have done, yet in terms of the human spirit and plain common sense, her removal and continued incarceration is wrong.

She was not a risk to anyone or to herself. Her father is certainly not a risk to her or her siblings brothers, one of whom is also autistic. It is a functional and good family with challenges. She is difficult to manage at times at her school. Sometimes her father has to be called so he can calm her with his words. She has a typical autistic tendency to wander from the place that she should be. That's what she did on June 12th, 2011. Four days later in spite of her father's angry protests, she was gone from him. Only those of you who have experienced this, can appreciate our grievous is this pain and associated emotions and thoughts. Derek, her dad, somehow missed seeing her climb over the family yard fence on that day. Common sense would tell a person, that is not uncommon. He was not ignoring her, neglecting her. He was not absent from her. She was playing in a playhouse on stilts. She was occupied and he was happy about that. It would have been easy to miss seeing her move from the playhouse to the fence top. Derek did.

The Ministry of Children removed her and began to medicate her. If she is more manageable at school now, is it because she is medicated? Perhaps. Is that a good thing? Derek didn't want her plied with anti-psychotics. He did not want to experiment with her when his fatherly kindness and soft words could accomplish the same ends.

On Monday January 23, Derek has an important Case Conference with social workers when it will become clearer how soon and with what kind of plan for Ayn's care, she will be returned to him. That is certainly what Derek and Ayn's mother Amie hope for. That's what over 4000 fellow advocates for her return are hoping for as well. It is an Important Day.   

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