Friday, February 17, 2012


If you can give yourself 60 minutes to watch a rare video about Autism from the PBS network, then you will find that this exercise is educational while at the same time highly motivating. It is entitled, Making Our Way - Autism.'

Daily life for a child with autism is a challenge for the child and the family.

How much greater is the challenge, when a provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development has deemed that enough reason exists within a gathering of family facts, to remove this child from her parents. In the minds of social workers perhaps the family challenge is exacerbated due to the fact that the father is parenting solo. Divorced from his wife, and yet with a cooperative and trusting relationship between the two adults, father is nevertheless the primary caregiver and custodian of the child. Of course I am speaking of a specific family and a specific child, father and mother. I speak of Ayn Van Dyk, a ten year old girl with autism, her father Derek Hoare, and her mother Amie Van Dyk. Ayn has retained her mother's maiden name for reasons personal to and agreed upon by both parents. Now factor in that Derek is parenting three children in total of which two are autistic, one of them being Ayn. Then consider that while Derek is recognized by the Ministry as a highly intelligent man and is affirmed as an affectionate father to his children, he is also regarded as someone who blames the school for Ayn's behaviour and claims that she is well behaved at home. He is also portrayed by the Ministry as being unconcerned or argumentative of the Ministry recommendations and who is slow to seek medical attention for his children. All of that might be contested with a fuller fact citation. Now add a recitation of incidents in which Ayn tantrumed, has taken her clothes off, has acted aggressively, self injuriously or in one instance injured another child, and add an occasional appearance at school with unkempt clothing.

This may explain why the government considered it necessary to remove Ayn but it does not excuse that she has been kept from Derek and her home and her brothers for over seven months. Prescribed time lines have not mattered to the Ministry which repeatedly transgresses such regulations with apparent immunity and perhaps the approval of the Minister of MCFD.

Watch Making Our Way: Autism on PBS. See more from Making Our Way: Autism.
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