Friday, February 22, 2008

Autism Articles Feb 19-22nd 2008

Autism News Articles
February 19th, 2008-February 22nd 2008

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Autism Fundraiser

I am so excited! The fourth annual Fishing for Tyler in Innisfil Beach Park in Alcona this coming Sunday, Feb 24th was mentioned in the TORONTO SUN!!!!!
Check out the attached link to read it.

Elisa

We made it into the Toronto Sun :)

http://www.ofncommunity.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=15976
Another fundraiser, coming VERY soon

Shining Through will host autism fundraiser

MORE STORIES

Richmond Hill
Feb 21, 2008 07:48 AM
It’s all about family at this year’s fundraiser for The Shining Through Centre for Children in Woodbridge.

The centre, which offers an educational program for autistic children, will host its ninth-annual fundraising gala Feb. 29.

The event will take place at Woodbridge’s Paramount Conference and Event Centre and kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

The Shining Through Centre was founded in 2001 to provide an intensive and comprehensive educational program for children with autism. The centre offers therapy called applied behavioral analysis (ABA), one-on-one to autistic children.

The event is already sold out and organizers expect about 1,100 people to attend, Mr. Clement said. But if you want to make a donation to the silent auction, become a sponsor or more information, call 905-851-7955 or e-mail info@shiningthrough.ca




Girl's writings opening new window on autism
Updated Sun. Feb. 17 2008 10:12 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
A 13-year-old named Carly is challenging the conventional notions of autism, demonstrating emotional skills that lay hidden for years, until one day, a computer helped her reveal to the world what it's like to have her condition.
From an early age, it was clear Carly had autism. As a young girl, she would often rock back and forth for minutes on end, flail her arms and hit herself repeatedly. Equally troubling, she never gained the ability to speak.
Her father, Arthur Fleishmann, says many people who didn't know her assumed she was intellectually challenged.
"Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would way mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential," he says.
Arthur and Carly's mother Tammy were advised to place her in an institution. Instead, they opted for an intensive therapy called ABA -- Applied Behavioural Analysis, the kind of therapy now recommended for kids with autism but because of the expense and the need for specially trained therapists, isn't available to all children.
While Carly made progress through the therapy, speech continued to elude her.
"We tried hard to get her to talk but it wasn't in the cards for Carly," says her speech pathologist Barbara Nash-Fenton.
Then, two years ago, Carly surprised everyone. Working with a computer equipped with pictures and symbols, she started typing and spelling words. At first it was just words -- help, hurt, head, teeth -- but soon she was assembling sentences.
She typed then as she does now -- slowly using only finger -- and the words she wrote stunned all who knew her.
"All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her," says Nash-Fenton. "And it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words."
"It was one of those moments in my career that I'll never forget."
Writing reveals secrets of autism
As Carly learned to write better, she began describing what it was like to have autism and why she does what she does, such as making odd noises and hitting herself.
"It feels like my legs are on fire and a million ants are crawling up my arms," Carly has written about the urge to hit herself.
"I want to be like Taryn," she has written of her twin sister, who does not have autism.
With her single typing finger, Carly has been able to demonstrate her emotional intelligence and witty sense of humour to a family who says they were stunned by what she revealed.
"We realized that inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. She was 10 at the time, and we just met her for the first time at 10 or 11 years old," says her father Arthur. "This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her."
Through her writings, Carly has joked about her "yucky" siblings, shown that she understands their jokes and revealed a curiosity about boys -- even asking when can she go on a date.
"Inside, she is a perfectly normal 13-year-old girl. She has crushes, she likes music, she wants to be treated like every other 13-year-old," says her father.
Carly also has expressed her frustration about her condition and about how the world misunderstands her.
"It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me," she writes. "People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk, or I act differently than them... I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them. It feels hard. It feels like being in a room with the stereo on full blast."
Autism specialist Dr. Wendy Roberts has read some of Carly's writing and watched her on video. She says Carly is certainly unique in her abilities and provides some fascinating insights into the condition of autism.
"I think the initial reaction is that it is incredibly remarkable," she says. "It is amazing to think that somebody who has not been able to put her thoughts into words now has a mechanism to get some of her ideas across."
Roberts says it's unclear whether Carly's unusual language abilities makes her a rare case or whether her new writing skills are the result of her intensive training.
She says it's rare for someone with autism to have apraxia -- the inability to speak despite an understanding of language -- as well as such an obvious command of written words. Roberts says it may be that Carly possesses unique abilities that make her a rare case, or it may be that her early and intensive training simply drew the skills out.
"What she does is quite uncommon but there hasn't been a really good look at kids with severe apraxia to see what could they be taught with intense teaching," says Roberts. "And that really begs the question of are we giving children enough intensive intervention to see if we are missing a fairly small percentage of kids who have this ability. There may be children being missed because they have not had access to therapy."
"From a broader perspective it puts pressure on us to develop interventions that will allow written language to develop... so that we can develop more effective interventions."
The benefits of ABA therapy
Carly's parents say they are so grateful that their daughter was able to discover this way to communicate because it has made them rethink autism and made them realize that they made the right decision to provide Carly with intensive therapy.
"If we had done what so many people told us to do years ago, we wouldn't have the child we have today. We would have written her off," says her father Arthur. "Then what would she be today?"
"We never would have seen she could write these things. Can you imagine? We would have never have gotten out of her how articulate she is how intelligent she is," he says. "Now, she tells us stories, she teases her brother. She just does it in a different way, she does it with her computer."
Carly's writing has progressed so far in the last two years, she's now starting to write a book. It's a take-off on herself and she's already come up with the title: "Elephant Princess."
Her writing has also helped her therapists help her more effectively.
"We've actually learned a lot about Carly," says her therapist Howard. "Since she has been able to type she has been telling us how it feels to be in her skin -- like ants are crawling up her arm. For us, this is very important. It helps with how we treat Carly, even how doctors treat Carly.
"I think Carly has a lot to teach us."
Carly has said she would like to tell the world about what it's like to have autism, so that others can understand what it's like.
"Autism is hard because you want to act one way but you can't always do that," she has written.
"It's sad that sometimes people don't know that sometimes I can't stop myself and they get mad at me. If I could tell people one thing about autism it would me that I don't want to be this way but I am. So don't be mad. Be understanding."
• Read some of Carly's words.
From a report by CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

Finding her voice
ARTHUR FLEISCHMANN (Globe Feb 19,2008)
Toronto -- As the father of Carly Fleischmann (Finding Her Voice In A Silent World - Globe Life, Feb. 18), I must take issue with Dr. Peter Szatmari's statement that her success "emphasizes the importance of adapting the environment to the child rather than always expecting treatment to improve the child." This makes no sense. If it were not for the Applied Behavioural Analysis treatment that Carly has received since age 4, she would be unable to communicate or perform any of the skills that she can today.
The full text of this article has 131 words.

Special Education

Invitation for Parent Input, Rainbow District School Board
(Sudbury-Manitoulin Catchement)
Contact your board if you do not receive something similar.

See attached pdf file.
No time limit to respond


Autism Poem submitted to Laurentian University Literary Arts for publication contest, a winner

Enjoy

Sometimes, Maybe Never
My Brothers have Autism

Mom Says Liam has autism.
I'm just a kid, I don't really understand.
I think it has something to do with that brain-thingy under his hair.
Whatever it is, sometimes he is just plain weird, and I love him that way. Sometimes.
Sometimes he hits me, bites me or scratches me - it hurts!
Maybe someday he will understand my feelings; maybe never.
Sometimes he smiles and hugs me - we're friends then, and I feel good.
Sometimes when a friend comes over to play the whole house is in an uproar - toys, paper, music-it’s quite chaotic.
He screams then he turns all the lights off!
I hate that!
Maybe someday it will be okay-maybe never.
Last night while he was crying he asked my friend, ‘won't you play with me please?”
She says no. She curls up on her mom’s lap, she is afraid.
Sometimes he plays with us. But mostly he plays alone.
That makes me lonely. Sometimes.
Sometimes when he and we get restless, we start to run about the house.
He likes that. We chase eachother and he laughs with me.
My baby brother is autistic too – he watches us and just squeal with delight when we run.
That makes me happy
AUTISM –A "funny-sort of" Dis - Order
Do people with autism get upset when there is no ORDER?
Sometimes, I wish never.

By Trish Kitching, Sudbury Ontario
Parent to three beautiful autistic children


Autism Breakthrough: Girl's Writings Explain Her Behavior and Feelings
Doctors Amazed by Carly Fleischmann's Ability to Describe the Disorder From the Inside

Carly Fleischman expresses feelings by typing on her laptop computer. (ABC News)
Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But thanks to years of expensive and intensive therapy, this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough.
CLICK HERE TO READ CARLY'S ANSWERS TO VIEWERS' QUESTIONS.
Story

You Asked, We Answered: Carly Fleischman, 13, Speaks Out About Autism
Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice.
"All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. "It was one of those moments in my career that I'll never forget."
Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism and why she makes odd noises or why she hits herself.
"It feels like my legs are on first and a million ants are crawling up my arms," Carly said through the computer.
Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date.
"We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism.
Video

Breakthrough: Autistic Teen Finds Voice
"It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." "Laypeople would have assumed she was mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would say mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential," Arthur Fleischman said.
Therapists say the key lesson from Carly's story is for families to never give up and to be ever creative in helping children with autism find their voice.
"If we had done what so many people told us to do years ago, we wouldn't have the child we have today. We would have written her off. We would have assumed the worst. We would have never seen how she could write these things —
Autism Breakthrough: Girl's Writings Explain Her Behavior and Feelings
12Next
Read All 701 Comments and Post Your Own


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
701 Comments

Discuss this topic with the ABC News Community
Read All
WELCOME TO ABCNEWS.COM.
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From a listmate
Carly's story has now been aired across the USA, here is the link to ABC coverage, there are well over 700 posts on their website in response to the story (and still counting).


http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4311223&page=1


Also, Ellen DeGeneres had her closing segment about Carly on Tuesday, Feb 19th broadcast, hopefully will find the time tonight to transcribe her commentary to share with the list. Truly inspiring to hear (read) it.


You Asked, She Answered: Carly Fleischmann, 13, Talks to Our Viewers About Autism
How Carly Responded to Your Questions

Carly Fleischman expresses feelings by typing on her laptop computer. (ABC News)
Carly Fleischmann, 13, is autistic, but after years of training, is able to articulate her feelings and thoughts. She provides rare insight into a world few people understand, and she answered some of our viewers' questions below.
Video

Breakthrough: Autistic Teen Finds Voice
CLICK HERE TO READ CARLY'S STORY.
Question: "Millions of people saw your story on ABC News. Thousands have written letters of thanks to you. You are an incredible inspiration to so many families. Everyone is very proud of you. How does this make you feel?"
Carly: "I am so happy. I got a big gift from people around the world. Among so many kids with autism they chose me to be an advocate for autism. Where should I get behind a cause like this? I am so glad that I am able to help people understand autism."
Question: "Hi Carly, after years of not being able to speak, what does it mean to you to be able to tell people what you want to say?"
Greg from Erie, Penn.
Carly: "greg it feels so awesome to ask for things. So how do you speak?"
Question: "Carly, I am so happy you found a way to communicate with those around you! My question is what was it like dealing with autism and coping with the frustrations of not being able to communicate your thoughts, feelings, desires and dislikes to your loved ones?"
Ailyn from Miami, Fl.
Story

Autism Breakthrough: Girl's Writings Explain Her Behavior and Feelings
Carly: "Ailyn it just sucks when I am alone. I feel very sad when mel goas away. I always yell when I feel like people so don't understand why I am sad."
Question: "What can you suggest to me, as a teacher and a parent of young teens with autism to help them?"
Jerry and Marieanne Vincent
Carly: "be patient. Try getting a computer. Give them chips when they type."
Question: "What one thing do you think my autistic child would want me to know about him?"
Carly: "I think he would want you to know that he knows more than you think he does. He is lucky to have nice parents."
You Asked, She Answered: Carly Fleischmann, 13, Talks to Our Viewers About Autism
12Next

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Story?id=4320297&page=2

Good kids’ help brighten lives
Posted By Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles
Posted 21 hours ago
Bryan Bellefeuille and Jessica Rutherford hide from the spotlight, but Thursday they were the centre of attention as nominees for the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards.
They were recognized for being “good kids” who are making life better for others and doing more than expected of someone their age. Up to 12 winners and one group award will be announced today.
Bellefeuille, a 17-year-old Grade 11 St. Joseph-Scollard Hall student, was nominated by four of his high school teachers.
“I had no idea they would nominate me for something like this,” he said Thursday.
“I really didn’t think I made that big of a difference. They’re only small things, but I do them to try and brighten up people’s days.”
Bellefeuille was recognized for being a good all-around student who assists students in need. He has become the school’s aboriginal ambassador and has worked to enhance the learning experience of his aboriginal friends.
Shirley Grant, Bellefeuille’s high school guidance counsellor, described him as a “good kid who is making life better for others.”
“He goes the extra mile to reach out to his peers and assists them to raise their self esteem. He is a very confident young man with a heart of gold and is an inspiration to all of us here at St. Joseph-Scollard Hall.”
He volunteers at the Cycle for Autism event, helps his dad provide respite care to autistic children, volunteers in the First Nation Labour for Elders program and is raising money to help his high school purchase a guitar for its students.
“I don’t do this for any awards or recognition. I’m doing this because I enjoy it and I want to help out my community,” Bellefeuille said.
While some teens are on the computer or playing sports, Rutherford is helping wherever she can.
The 14-year-old Grade 9 student at West Ferris Secondary School started volunteering at the age of eight. Her resume is several pages long and includes such activities as singing Christmas carols to psychiatric patients in the geriatric ward at the Northeast Mental Health Centre, picking up garbage on area trails, assisting Nipissing Association for Disabled Youth organize their children’s Christmas parties, selling glow sticks and breakfast tickets at the North Bay Relay for Life and assisting Low Income People’s Involvement of Nipissing with its toy drive.
“I’ve never had to force her to do anything,” said Rhonda Rutherford, Jessica’s mother.
“She has the patience of a saint.”
Jessica Rutherford usually works behind the scenes and wasn’t expecting to be recognized for her years of work.
“It’s pretty cool to be nominated for an award like this,” she said.
The Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year started in 1981 as an awards program that recognizes the best in Ontario’s youth. It’s co-ordinated by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
jhamilton-mccharles@nugget.ca

Autistic kids deserve better treatment

MORE STORIES
• Autistic kids deserve better treatment
Editorials
Feb 21, 2008 07:33 AM
Important decisions must be based on facts. But sometimes governments must also offer hope.

In the case of young people with autism — a life-long neurological condition that causes developmental disability and behaviour problems — hope comes in the form of intensive therapies advocates argue can make a great difference in these children’s lives and greatly improve their prospects for the future.

Unfortunately in Ontario, intensive behavioural intervention and applied behaviour analysis are not offered to school-age children, which places a real burden on families who see this therapy as their only hope. The therapies can cost between $30,000 and $80,000 a year per child. These costs have forced many families to sell their homes, deplete their savings and take on debt.

Four years ago, a group of families, including parents from York Region, filed a $1.25-billion lawsuit arguing their children are being discriminated against. Other children with special needs are receiving therapy and their education within the public school system, while children with autism have been set apart, they argue.

Parts of their claim were struck down last year, with the province demanding the families cover $85,000 in legal costs. But parts of their case are still alive.

In the United States, families can receive treatment for their autistic children to age 21. Alberta and British Columbia also cover the costs. However in Ontario, where we are all paying a special health premium that might lead us to think we would be getting premium health care, the province continues to dig in its heels.

We would not suggest that you, as a taxpayer, should be forced to sign a blank cheque. But more can be done to help these families as evidence continues to show intensive therapies provide a real benefit. We would not hesitate to provide the funding through OHIP for a very expensive but possibly life-saving operation, even if the chances of success were slim. Why would we deny funding for a possibly life changing therapy?

It’s time for Queen’s Park to rethink its position. This is not just an education issue, but a health-care and a social services concern. As it is, many autistic children younger than six, when experts suggest such therapies are most beneficial, are on waiting lists.

Consider the burden autistic children will put on our social service system if we do not give them therapy that may help them live more independently. In simple dollar terms, it can be a matter of paying now or paying later. If paying now can improve people’s live in the process, then that’s what we should do.






Canoe

Editorial
Feb 14, 2008

Province must offer full autism programs
The Ontario government claims it is making great strides to improve education in this province.
The Ministry of Education website boasts smaller class sizes, higher achievement in reading, writing and math, and more students graduating.
What the website does not say is that not all children can benefit from its programs.
Autistic children are being deprived by the province - they are the only disabled group that does not receive both treatment and education on the government's dollar.
It is an obvious case of discrimination - and it is one that a group of parents is fighting with few results.
Five families are trying to sue the Ontario government and seven school boards for negligence and damages, accusing them of failing to provide or properly fund the therapies for autistic children in schools.
Known as intensive behavioural intervention and applied behaviour analysis, the therapies for autism - a life-long neurological condition that causes developmental disability and behaviour problems - can cost from $30,000 to $80,000 a year for each child.
In 2004, the families filed a $1.25-billion lawsuit, which has yet to be certified as a class action, arguing their children were victims of discrimination because other kids with special needs receive both therapy and their education within the publicly funded school system.
Last March, Justice Maurice Cullity sided with the province in striking down several of the key claims, including negligence and damages.
However, he let stand the discrimination claim and in later dismissing the province's demand for $85,000 in legal costs, Cullity acknowledged the significance of the issue, giving hope to the families that they might still have a case.
The group was hoping its lawyer could convince the Ontario Court of Appeal during Monday's one-day hearing they should be allowed to sue for damages if their $1.25-billion class action is certified.
After lawyer David Baker's arguments, Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Paul Rouleau said he's having trouble seeing why the province should be held liable.
The panel has reserved its decision in the case.
Let's hope they listen to experts on the issue - such as the Autism Society of Canada. The society's website says access to individualized education coupled with effective treatment can greatly improve a person's quality of life, including their ability to learn, communicate with others and care for themselves.
Sadly, in order to get such care, some Ontario families have been forced to move to Alberta or B.C. Both provinces fund treatment and education for autistic children. The United States is also an option for such families where autistic children can access the therapies through the education system until the age of 21.
It is reprehensible that Ontario, one of the most prosperous provinces, has shirked its responsibility to provide these children with a chance for a better life.
The Dalton McGuinty government needs to quit treating autistic children like second-class citizens.

Ask Lindsay Moir:
"CanGrands" W5 program
Friday, February 22, 2008
Question & Answer:
Many of you will already know of my interest in "Grandparent Groups" and how they can provide a powerful resource to families of exceptional children. I have attended one such group several times at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix Arizona (www.autismcenter.org) and have been impressed how SARRC has found a role for grandparents and utilizes their interest and life experiences to provide the skills to allow them to support their special education grandchild, to be a support to their own children who are stressed trying to cope with parenting an exceptional child, and volunteering in mentoring programs, fundraising and other aspects of SARRC to help autistic children in general.
Inspired by this group, I am working with Autism Ontario's London Chapter to begin such a group here. If we are successful, it could serve as a model to educate and utilize grandparents across the province, for any exceptionality. I will give you time-to-time updates on our progress.
Last summer I was invited to do a workshop at Keswick, Ontario for the CanGrands group. Before, during and after my presentation I had the opportunity to interact with these incredible people. To learn more about CanGrands visit their website (www.cangrands.com).
Did you know that more than 55,000 Ontario children, many with special needs' are being raised by kinship "parents" — usually a grandma living on a pension. Their own children are often unable to care for these young kids due to alcohol, drugs or mental health issues, and the grandparents step in to look after them, with minimal government support.
Last night, the TV program W5 ran an excellent show called "Parents Again" which outlined the plight of these grandparents ... and their joy and committment to their grandchildren. You can see this program in its entireity by clicking on "Parents Again" Part 1 & 2 at www.ctv.ca/W5. The show really captures the angst and stress of raising exceptional children ... with the added twist that the parenting is being done by seniors.
I realy think that this video should be required viewing for all of us involved in the special education field, as well as every Community College student in the Human Services Division... maybe even our MPPs?
On a positive note, the Ontario government has recently changed the laws and grandparents can be eligible for more support, on a more consistent basis. The Minister has now promised that they will not have to relinquish custody of their grandchild in order to became eligible for a funding review — still a few wrinkles to be ironed out? ... but progress none the less!
I have become increasingly aware of how many grandparents attend my workshops across the province, either to support the Mom or Dad by attending with them, or because they are actively involved in the raising of an exceptional grandchild. I sense they are seeking a role, and have the time, life experience and distance from the day-to-day challenges of raising a special needs child, to become a key piece of the puzzle.
Attention educators, community professionals, legislators — THE GRANDPARENTS ARE COMING!! THE GRANDPARENTS ARE COMING!! — and they are a force to be reckoned with!
Lindsay Moir retired from the Ministry of Education in 1997 and has been assisting agencies, associations and parents in obtaining appropriate special education services for exceptional pupils.
Family Net welcomes your questions about special education in Ontario.
E-mail Lindsay at ask.questions@yahoo.ca He will answer as many questions as possible.
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Beverly McIntosh is raising her two grandchildren, six-year-old Austin and nine-year-old Rosina, two children both damaged by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Beverly McIntosh, a 60-year-old retirement from Hamilton, Ont., says she doesn't even know where her son, the children's father, is.

David Taylor is challenging governments to step up do more for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
W-FIVE

Updated: Sat. Feb. 16 2008 7:30 PM ET
More and more grandparents in Canada find themselves raising children for a second time, but this time around, they are raising their grandchildren. At least 65,000 children live with their grandparents in Canada. And most of those grandparents are raising the children on a small pension, living below the poverty line.
In Hamilton, Ontario, 60-year-old Beverly McIntosh's retirement is a lot different from what she imagined. That's because Beverly is raising her two grandchildren, six-year-old Austin and nine-year-old Rosina, two children both damaged by fetal alcohol syndrome. They are also two children left behind by their parents.
Beverly says she doesn't even know where her son, the children's father, is. "He was in Hamilton. I haven't seen him for three years. The mother, I haven't seen for two years. The mother has major, major issues with alcohol, drugs."
The story is not unusual, as most of those children being raised by grandparents are suffering from problems. It could be attention deficit disorder or fetal alcohol syndrome or learning disabilities.
And the grandparents are doing this tough job on a tight budget. Before her grandchildren came to live with her, Beverly's house was paid off and she was living a comfortable, if modest, existence. Now, she's had to take out a line of credit to pay her monthly bills. Her line of credit is almost exhausted. Beverly wonders what the future will bring then. Will she have to sell her house, will the government be there to give her a place to live?
Saving grandchildren is Betty Cornelius's life work. It began with her granddaughter, Ashley. Aware of her own isolation, she decided to do something about it and organized a network with a special purpose. They call themselves Cangrands.
According to Betty, the purpose is to "give support, education and empowerment to grandparents that are raising grandchildren that are raising grandchildren to kinship families... And really what it is, is a lot of hand holding a lot of listening... it's a hard job, it's a club nobody wanted to join."
But they do join. There are now almost 600 members with chapters across Canada. They are bound together by the tragic tales of grandchildren they have managed to save. But it hasn't been easy.
The average grandparent raising grandchildren in Canada is living on less than $15,000 a year.
As W-FIVE found out, these grandparents, who fight to keep their grandchildren out of the foster care system, are saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars but they are receiving little or no government assistance.
They'd get more help if they were taking care of a complete stranger -- foster children -- but take care of your own grandchild, and they call it welfare.
"I'm a registered foster family. It's $1,700 a month, on average, for my foster baby but I get $226 for my grandchild. Same government but different department. And so I call that discrimination. And it feels like punishment for our kinship families," explains Betty.
Now, the Ontario government says it's got a solution -- a proposed new law called Bill 210 promising to pay these grandparents $900 a month.
But, in Toronto, critic Lynn Cunningham says there's a catch: "Anybody who already has custody of their child isn't eligible. The child involved has to be in care."
Ontario's welfare minister, Madeleine Meilleur, says it won't work like that. Grandparents already doing the job can apply: "If the courts decide that the grandparents are the best person to look after their children then they will receive this additional amount."
Money isn't the only solution and Canadians aren't the only ones struggling with the problems of raising grandchildren. In the rough neighbourhood of the Bronx, New York, there's an oasis called Grandparents Family Apartment. It's a place of refuge... a place where grandparents and grandchildren can build a new life.
The complex is one of a kind, and it's working. David Taylor is the man who came up with the idea, and built it with mostly donated money from the organization he runs called Presbyterian Senior Services.
"The 50 families came who came to this building in June of 2005 ... most of them were living in horrific conditions. Some of them were rat infested, gangs and drug infested building," says David
"The purpose of this house is to provide affordable, safe housing for grandparents raising grandchildren and also to provide an environment that children, the grandchildren can grow from and mature and become educated and be able to sort of go into the world and do their thing successfully."
Now, David Taylor is challenging governments to step up and build more. He wonders why Canadian governments couldn't do the same.
Beverly McIntosh just hopes that help comes in time. "We are in desperate need of funds to raise our grandchildren. We are saving them millions of dollars. They can give us a little bit to help."



From a listmate


Ellen DeGeneres spoke of Carly Fleishmann and her amazing communication skills she has developed on her show this past Tuesday, Feb. 19th, 2008. She closed the show with the following monologue:


So, I’m asked to do things from time to time for people. And I can do only do so much, I try to do what I can. But I was given a request, there is a little girl in Toronto , her name is Carly. She’s 13 years old and she’s autistic. And she asked me to speak for her for her Bat Mitzvah because she doesn’t speak. And she wrote something for me to speak for her, which was the most beautiful thing. And I could hardly keep it together when I was reading it. And she has been writing me thank you notes ever since. And she wrote me another one recently.

And it says, “They say that one of the greatest gifts in the world is someone’s voice, and I can’t believe it, but you lent me yours.”

She goes on to say a lot of things, “I wish I could twirl my magic dream wand and give all the people without a place to live a home. Or I wish I lived closer and they could stay at my house. They could sleep in my parents bed and my dad would read them stories. They might like that, his stories always cheer me up.”

She is truly amazing. I mean, you look as someone and you see what is an autistic person and you think they don’t think the same way or they don’t have the intelligence. And this girl is special.

And she says, “I am sending you $550.50 since you turned 50 years old. I know it’s not enough to build a house, but it’s a start. I hope you had a great birthday and with portia and hope I help make your dreams come true. Keep dreaming. Love Carly.”

And she sent me this cheque for Make it Right.

Amazing Carly, Thank You.



From a listmate



Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:30 PM
Subject: Big Brother show..calling people with autism " retards" ( please take action)

If you haven't done so already please click through and take action. This is regarding the
idiot on Big Brother who claims to be working for an Autism Org. and referred to people with
autism as "retards". A-Champ is demanding an apology, a firing and the show pulled just as
they did to IMUS. I think turn about is fair play.

Forward this to as many people as you can to flood the email boxes at CBS.

Click on this URL to take action now
http://capwiz. com/a-champ/ utr/2/?a= 11010616& i=70700466& c=

If your email program does not recognize the URL as a link,
copy the entire URL and paste it into your Web browser.



End of mailing

1 comment:

Emma said...

Hi! You didn't mention anything about carly's twin. She doesn't have autism and I know her! They are both sweet and really amazing girls. Carly is so cute and wants to be just like Taryn. I <3 them both!!