Friday, November 13, 2009

New website shares intimate messages from B.C. parents to children with autism

Parents of children with autism have opened up their hearts and personal lives to British Columbians, describing the triumphs and struggles of raising their children, said MLA Lana Popham.

“The new website, www.autismstories.ca, offers a window that few of us ever look through. It’s a window into the world of people with autism and just how challenging - and inspiring - it is to raise a child with autism," said Popham. “The parents are bravely sharing their experiences with the public, so other British Columbians have the chance to experience a little of this private world.”

Launched today, the website will allow the parents to record their personal messages to their children. The parents created the site as a response to the B.C. government’s recent decision to cut funding for early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI).

The public will have access to the private thoughts of care-givers as they struggle to explain to their children the devastating effect of the B.C. government’s cuts.

“While you can never truly describe what living with autism is, this site can offer a glimpse into the challenges and victories we endure and celebrate every day," said Hollie Davis, a mother to a child living with autism. "Often those who live with autism or who are raising children with autism are completely isolated. It’s wonderful to get to a point as a parent that you can say 'my child may have autism, but autism does not and will not have my child'.”

Autism affects approximately 1 in 165 children in Canada, a number that is steadily increasing.

“Our hope is that the stories here will help raise awareness of the importance of funding EIBI for children with autism in addition to creating a support system for parents and care-givers alike," said Sylvia Michalewicz, co-founder and volunteer coordinator of www.autismstories.ca.