Updated: Oct 16, 2020
This morning I read an article online about Parker Curran. He is a 19 year old Autistic Adult from Thorold, Ontario, who is currently stuck in the psychiatric ward in hospital right now because he is waiting to be placed in a group home.
Before I begin here I have to say...
My first thought was to respect this young man's privacy....
I can't imagine the pain he is suffering right now, stuck inside a hospital room scared and unable to regulate his emotions or sensory needs.
I hate to imagine the treatment he may receive from nurses and staff who have zero training in the needs of an individuals with autism.
And my heart goes out to his family because I sat in this very same position several years ago as a parent to an autistic adult myself.
I've been through this difficult nightmare and I know that there simply was no help for my autistic child because she was self-injurious and aggressive towards others.
I do not know what Parker Curran's story is but I would like to take a moment of your time to tell you about my own similar personal experience.
I didn't know how to cope with my daily struggles as a parent and I had no where to turn to for help when she got arrested and placed in the psychiatric ward and that is actually the tragic reality today that faces so many parents of autistic people. My baby was confined to her room by security guards and jabbed with halodol every 4-6 hours and I was a mental wreck. No one understood her at all.
I did what I had to do and we survived, and we made it through the dark side of autism.
Until one day I understood. There were thousands of times when I thought I simply could not suffer another day but do you know what? I did... I did suffer through another day, and another, and another and when my heart finally healed, her's healed too.
I realized that I was wrong. Society was wrong. The entire mindset was wrong and I was ready to work towards helping her as best I could.
With new eyes I learned that she was simply my mirror. She was mirroring my pain, my depression, my anxiety. She was mirroring my mother and her younger siblings. She was mirroring the tv and the radio ads too. Her echolalia was her way of attempting to communicate empathy and I didn't understand it. I had no idea what she was trying to communicate.
It took me 37 years to learn humility and I learned that I am #ActuallyAutistic too.
I was holding her back in life and not the other way around.
I am her mom and I am they only one in the entire world who will ever truly have her back. I was the only one who could fix her heart and I really needed to fix mine too.
It's been 10 years since my daughter was admitted to a psychiatric ward.
Autistic people need their families and families need their autistic people. Separating them is not going to help. We need #AutisticPride in our communities but we also need to support our Autism Community without judgement. They are not separate
Without her, my life would have no meaning or purpose but I didn't always know that and together we want to show the world that #AutisticLivesMatter
Autism is not a tragedy, the lack of appropriate programs and services is the tragedy.
I wish I knew what neurodiversity was 20 years ago and that's the tragedy that I had to learn the hard way. Our experience was not for nothing. It means something to someone.
We are here to help shine a light on the problems that lie within our society and help build our community to be better, not worse.
Millions upon millions of autistic people all over the world are struggling with the very same dilemma right now. We are not alone. We don't have to suffer alone.
Too many are falling through the cracks of our society and it doesn't have to be this way.
I have attached the link the to the original news article about Niagara MPP Jeff Burch, who sent a letter to the Premier asking for the Thorold teen with autism to be transferred out of a psychiatric ward, according to Bonnie Heslop, a journalist with iHeart Radio in an article posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 on www.iheartradio.ca.