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Parents cry for help for special needs children [CA-NB]

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OPINION
Author: 
Allain, Cheryl & Allain, Todd
Publication Date: 
8 Apr 2003
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EXCERPTS

My son is a special needs child who requires constant care. His fine motor skills and ability to learn are minimal. I have been told by various specialists, doctors and teachers that in the summer my son should be placed in an integrated day care. There, he would have structured activities, friends, be on a schedule, etc.

If I would put my son in a day care, it would cost me $564 a week. I don't mind paying the day care but like most parents, I can't afford the cost. I have three other children to care for, plus all the expenses that a special needs child has.

Before my son was five, I had to drive to his day care (I worked in Moncton then) to get my son, drive him back to Moncton for his appointment, then drive him back to Notre Dame before I went back to work. That was on a weekly basis. I couldn't miss any appointments and I didn't want to because I only wanted the best for my child. Once he started school, everything switched to the school. Since then, my son has only been seen once by the speech therapist (she told me there are children worse off than him) and three times by the occupational therapist. Does this make sense? I only want the best for my child.

What is more frustrating, the government will pay couples or persons if they are willing to adopt special needs children, but because I have a child of my own with special needs, the government is unwilling to help us.

I have tried numerous organizations, but because I or the support group that I am going is not a organization, no one wants to help us. It's as if you blame us that we have a special needs child. I didn't drink and I didn't smoke during pregnancy - I was a healthy mother expecting twins.

I don't blame the school and I don't blame the social workers -I blame a system that doesn't provide funding assistance for special needs children.

We can't put our child in Boy Scouts, swim classes, hockey, Bible study, etc. These are just a few problems that parents go through with a special needs child. If you would just come to one meeting with our support group, you would see how stressed we are and how disappointed we are with the system.

[A] little help and compassion from anyone would be greatly appreciated. I am pleading with you . . . begging you to please reply or help us or even give us contacts.

Summer is just around the corner and I have no idea what to do. My son has needs. I didn't just decide to put my son in a day care; it was mentioned by the doctor, the specialist and the teachers. I want to allow my son to reach his capabilities. If my son doesn't go in a day care and is not structured, he will start at zero in September. Is this fair for a child or a parent or even the teacher?

- reprinted from the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal.

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Entered Date: 
8 Apr 2003
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