CTV Investigates: Understanding Autism
A first word, a first hug, a first trip to the potty, all important milestones in a child's development. For many parents and their children those milestones are delayed because of autism. It’s become the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world.
Concerns have surfaced, that there aren't enough resources to help families and their children.
Jadie Beaudin loves playing with her three boys, two and half years ago her son Kaleb, was diagnosed with Autism.
“It was devastating, I spent a lot of time crying I just thought I was going to make mistakes playing with him, I thought I wasn't playing with him properly.”
After putting Kaleb on a waiting list for intensive behavior treatment and trying to change his diet reality set in for Beaudin.
“I realized that I won't be able to cure autism we're going to learn how to live with it and that was very hard for me how to look at Kaleb and love what he just loves everything about him instead of trying to fix him.”
Kaleb now five years-old still has difficulty responding to his name and is known to run off.
“Sending him to school that was my biggest fear. I was terrified,” says Beaudin “We have personally lost him ourselves and it's horrifying.”
Kaleb is a senior kindergarten student at Ryerson public school in Cambridge. He's been lost twice since the beginning of the school year and while Kaleb's parents say the teaching staff and principal are doing all they can, they say more support is needed from the school board and the provincial government.
The Waterloo District School Board won't comment specifically about Kaleb's case, but say they work with parents and staff to constantly improve safety plans.
School board officials insist, they’ve received a steady stream of funding over the past four years.
Laura Hodgins, superintendant of education, WRSB says “We have increased the number of our educational assistants over the past 4 years, we now have a hundred more educational assistants in place.
When it comes to dealing with autism spectrum disorder, the needs of a child varies.
“Sometimes there's an idea that support means one to one worker at all times and that's not necessarily they type of support that is the best for the student, we rely more on the team approach within a classroom” says Hodgins.
The Beaudin's wanted one on one attention for Kaleb and offered to pay for extra support but the school board said no. Beaudin says this is just one example of the constant fight to get the help they need.
“It's the struggles with the outside world, with the finances and trying to get help that are difficult, but inside the home if it was just me and my husband and the three kids we can take autism on" says Beaudin.
The statistics are staggering, two years ago one out of 150 kids in Ontario were diagnosed with autism, now the rate is one out of 88.
Just this week a local MPP John Milloy agreed more needs to be done.
“I’m the first to admit, there are still waiting lists, and there is still a need for more resources. So we need to look at where resources are going to be available, but also how they are being spent” says Milloy.