Autism Reality

Residential Care, Treatment, Needed for New Brunswick Autistic Youths, Adults


In New Brunswick much progress has been made for pre-school autistic children. Some funding is now available for evidence based autism interventions and agencies have been established, and measures implemented, to provide accountability in delivery of intervention services. Improvements are also starting to be made to provide autism trained teacher assistants and resource teachers to provide autistic school children with a real education. But for youths and adults with autism who are in need of decent, competent residential care and treatment nothing has changed since the fall of 2005. That was when Canada became aware that New Brunswick is so lacking in residential facilites with properly trained personnel and in treatment for autistic youths and adults that we truly literally house some of our autistic residents on the grounds of penal institutions. There has been a provincial election in the period since 2005 and a new governing team is just now getting its full grip on the reins of power. Nonetheless the time is long overdue for New Brunswick to start providing decent residential care and treatment for its autistic youths and adults – right here in New Brunswick.

Autistic boy kept in New Brunswick jail

No other place for him to stay

13-year-old must go to U.S. hospital

The Toronto Star, KELLY TOUGHILL, ATLANTIC CANADA BUREAU, Oct. 19, 2005

HALIFAX—A 13-year-old autistic boy now living in a New Brunswick jail compound will be sent out of Canada because there is no home, hospital or institution that can handle him in his own province.

Provincial officials confirmed yesterday the boy is living in a visitor’s apartment at the Miramichi Youth Centre and will be moved to a treatment centre in Maine by November.

They stressed he is not under lock and key, has no contact with other inmates and is living outside the high wire fence that surrounds the youth detention centre.

Nevertheless, the jailhouse placement and the transfer to Maine have outraged mental health advocates and opposition critics.

“They put this boy in a criminal facility because he is autistic,” said Harold Doherty, a board member of the Autism Society of New Brunswick.

“Now we are exporting our children because we can’t care for them. This is Canada, not a Third World country.

“We are supposed to have a decent standard of care for the sick and the vulnerable, but we don’t.”

Liberal MLA John Foran echoed his concern. “This boy has done nothing wrong, is not the subject of any court order, but is in a penal institution.” ……..

http://www.canadiancrc.com/articles/Tor_Star_Autistic_boy_kept_NB_jail_19OCT05.htm

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April 16, 2007 Posted by | adult residential care, autism disorder, Autism Society New Brunswick, autism treatment, jail, John Foran, Toronto Star | Leave a comment

Ultimate Autism Reality Check – Autistic Children Become Adults

Centracare
414 Bay Street,
Saint John, NB

Much of the autism discussion found on the internet does not seem directed at the very real concerns of families raising autistic children. Little of it provides practical assistance for the very real challenges facing families with an autistic child to raise and care for. The same is also true for the mainstream media. Despite all the attention generated by Autism Awareness Month in the US and the good efforts by the people at Autism Speaks, Oprah Winfrey and the View, there is very little coverage of, discussion of, or even acknowledgment of the realities of life that await autistic children, particularly those with severe intellectual, communication and behavioral deficits when they grow older, when they become youths and adults.

In New Brunswick Canada our residential care and treatment capacity is extremely limited. Information is not readily available to autism organizations about what facilities and services do exist. Requests for feedback sent to residential care home operators by the New Brunswick Autism Society went unanswered by the owners of those facilities. Government officials generally engage in the time honored tactics of delay and divide the autism community and lumber on with the same inadequate resources currently available.

In New Brunswick youths and adults who reside in residential care facilities will be cared for by staff with little or no training in autism or behavior management techniques. When frustrations and conflict arise from strained relations between untrained staff and persons with autism spectrum disorders there is no one to take the side, or offer the perspective of, the autistic youth or adult. Assault charges then follow against the autistic youth or adult who is supposedly being cared for in the residence.

In New Brunswick a year and a half ago an autistic youth was sent to reside on the grounds of the Miramichi Correctional facility. He had been convicted of no crime or offence. He was sent there because the Province of New Brunswick lacked the residential care or facilities in which he could live and receive treatment. Ultimately he was sent out of the province, out of the country, to a facility in the State of Maine.

New Brunswick has a central mental health facility in which persons with a variety of mental illnesses reside. The facility does have a psychologist on staff but the facts of life for an autistic person living in that facility are not pretty. I have visited that facility in the past with a father who told of arriving on short notice and finding his adult autistic son, barely clothed, in an isolation room with a hard wet floor. When we arrived we found exactly the same situation. There is little in the way of recreational programs or activities organized for severely autistic adults.

It might be different in other provinces and states in North America. Living in New Brunswick Canada this is the future that awaits severely autistic children as they age. As the father of an autistic son, now 11 years old, I can not ignore that future. It is the ultimate autism reality check.

April 12, 2007 Posted by | adult residential care, autism disorder, autism reality, autism speaks, autism treatment, New Brunswick, Oprah, the view | 4 Comments