Yesterday, I posted a link on my Facebook page, which told the story of a four year old Autistic boy named Finn. Unfortunately, Finn’s story is a common one in our province, where children with special needs are waiting extraordinary amounts of time for much needed therapies and services. As the sister of a developmentally challenged brother, I know how important early intervention is and how it can make a huge difference to the quality of life led by these individuals. Finn is four years old and still does not speak. Parents, I want you to imagine that…my son is four and he never STOPS chattering away. On the rare occasions when he can’t find words to express himself he gets incredibly frustrated (and so do I). This is Finn and his parents’ world a lot of the time. Their child is four and cannot communicate with them…and they have to wait for the much needed help they deserve and need.
With other cuts to the system, individuals like Finn will face further obstacles as they age. Many community work programs have undergone drastic funding cuts, meaning some challenged adults have lost their jobs. These jobs could include a simple sweeping position at a local grocer, or a dog walking position at the veterinarian’s office. As simple as they may be, these positions are so important; they ensure that these B.C. citizens are valued, proud and contributing members of our communities.
What do wait times and cuts like these tell parents and families of those with developmental challenges? Sorry…but “Families First” does not include you.