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Letters  

Autism spectrum ignorance

Well the new year of 2018, time to move forward onto great adventures and attaining new goals. We live in an age of understanding and acceptance of others. Learning that the colour of your skin means you are another future friend to met. We understand that through trials and tribulations we grow into strong and healthy human beings. 

But why is it that a person that looks physically healthy on the outside but mentally disabled on the inside is discriminated against. That is right, I said discriminated against. You see, my 10 year old autistic stepson was banned and physically restrained by a lifeguard at a so called family friendly recreation center. This has since been lifted, but his mother was required to hand them a typed sheet of everything going on with him yet they haven't even offered an apology for how everything was handled!

My stepson has the mentally of a 2 to 3 year old, he is unable to speak clearly on his own. He can if he is prompted by his mother or speech therapists to mimic them, now we are talking to about a four to five word sentence at a time maximum for instructions that can be understood. Our beloved son has no concept of danger, he either runs or slowly walks a snail pace from point A to point B. There is no middle ground when it comes to movement, he simply doesn't understand. Since our son is unable to attend school we have had to find ways for him to interact with other children and adults other then ourselves or his therapists. 

Our son was going for swimming lessons for kids with challenges, on the outside this facility prides themselves as a center that works with all types of children, but that is not the case. They have no understanding on how to interact with autistic children at all. One lifeguard working with these kids point blank told one of his behavioural therapist this to her face. He is incapable of understanding that you need to walk around the swimming pool, he was running and a life guard restrained him. As a result he got upset, since the sensation of touch will overwhelm him to the point where he will scream and throw himself against the floor or wall. He is not wanting to hurt himself but to release the touch sensation that is over whelming his brain. As the result of this encounter he was screaming and crying and throwing himself around, essentially hurting himself to get rid of the sensation.

As a result, I was extremely disappointed with this reaction. Would love to see some improvements in this new year. 

Daniel Ellison
 



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