Monday, August 4, 2008

A Mother Answers The Monumental Premier

I am a single parent, of an 11 1/2 year old son with special needs, who publicly admits to being on disability through welfare. I am shocked that this government is planning on spending money on a "capital" cost for a building for services that it does not fund. And which part of the budget is this money going to come from? Whose lives do they plan to decimate by that re-allocation?

Certainly the autism community doesn't believe others should be damaged in its' name, do they? Because it is certain that people will be damaged when money is taken from subsistence housing and welfare budgets which have been drastically cut. Of course, poor people don't really count or know much; because they have to be stupid or they wouldn't be poor, right? So the government and it's friends don't have to care.

But in case there are people who care; understand, for example, there is absolutely no respite funding for parents, child with special needs or not, who don't have enough money. The NDP eradicated in-home respite for parents. The only option is foster care, which is more costly than in-home respite.

As for supports for children with special needs: my son's diagnosis from Sunny Hill is "Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorder", an umbrella term that includes disorders like autism and FAS, which he does not have. But it doesn't matter that he has disorders in all the same areas as someone diagnosed with Autism, he doesn't have the right label, so we are not eligible for funding for the supports, respite or therapy.

I applied to the Community Living program and the At-Home Program and was refused because my son is not on the autism spectrum and his IQ is over 70. To top it off, without a referral from Community Living we are not eligible for supports from non-profit and other charitable associations I have applied to.

I had a splenectomy last September and at the same time the doctors were telling me to rest I could get no in-home child-care whatsoever. I am a single parent and was worried I might have cancer. If not for relatives who do not live in Vancouver offering to take my son for the first week, he would have had to go into foster care, which I could not allow to happen and which would have traumatized him.

I am on disability because of health reasons which have been made worse by effects from my son's disabilities, poverty, the welfare system and the continual awareness and affects of people's ignorance about all of it. If I could work full-time I most certainly would, rather than be continually humiliated.

Yet I do work full time. Like all parents who have children with special needs, especially those who are not rich and cannot afford to pay for what they need; I have to spend my "working time" as my son's administrative assistant and therapist, as well as advocating for him and making sure he is getting everything he needs in the school system. Plus, I have to try to be continually aware of the damage the government is doing and adding my small voice to advocating for services. Sometimes I imagine all I had to do was take care of my son special needs because the resources he needs would all be there.

But they are not; this government has no plans for that. The BC government, including the NDP when it was in power, is not providing practical, community supports that children with special needs and their families must have. In fact, they keep destroying them.

So, if individuals want to fund and build this new centre, please, do so, and give it your name. (By the way, how do you expect parents who don't have personal transportation to get out there?) Just realize, that in no way, by it's own admission and practice, does the Liberal government have any extra funding for this new centre; don't expect the government to fund something just because Gordon Campbell's friends want it and the university wants the ego boost; when there is no care for all citizens no matter what their income bracket.

But silly ethical issues like that have never stopped this government before. Like most of the rest of the world, these people will only listen to and respect those in a certain income bracket who know absolutely nothing about the lives of the people whose lives they are making decisions about, and destroying in the process.

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