From parents who enjoyed a weekend break at a local hotel through our ReFresh ReStart program:
You've put a little spring my step. I'm not even going to tell my husband that I applied until we find out. So exciting even if we don't get it! Little things like this go along way in the daily struggles with funding, appointments, care, stress, worry etc.
We cannot thank you enough for the wonderful opportunity of spending a night in a beautiful hotel. We feel very fortunate to have been part of this great program. Thank you very much [...] and everyone involved in this fantastic initiative including the generous support of the [...] Hotel for giving us the chance to reconnect and recharge in a most wonderful setting.
We are back on track and strengthened by our weekend together. We realize as a result of this weekend that we need more opportunities to re-group and take care of ourselves. We have to stay healthy for our children — and each other. From the bottom of our hearts — thank you, and all of your generous sponsors.
Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity and please extend my sincere appreciation to the hotels who are partners in this.
I am so excited and can’t wait, please tell me what I shall do next. I feel like I have won the lottery. Thank you once again.
Thank you so much for the great weekend away.
Opinion piece Ottawa Citizen April 2, 2011 - Senator Jim Munson
We have all witnessed the scene. The shrill cries of a young child at the mall. Arms and legs flailing. The mother, powerless against her child's fervour.
An intense scene like this triggers all sorts of responses in onlookers -from amusement to sharp judgment: "That woman can't control her own child!"
I wonder how many of us might wonder: "Could that child be autistic?" A temper tantrum is only one of a collection of symptoms of autism.
Autistic children and their families need our compassion -and this begins with awareness. Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a United Nations resolution in honour of people affected by autism.
It was early in my career as a senator when my own eyes were opened to the plight of autistic children and their families. I met a man demonstrating on the Hill. He told me his son was autistic, and described the challenges he faced every day. I have since travelled from coast to coast, meeting with family members and advocates involved with autism issues. They also describe their fears and desperation for treatment and guidance. I do what I can to advise them and keep them connected and hopeful.
In the absence of strong federal commitment, autism organizations at the local, provincial and national levels are carrying the weight. Here in Ottawa, a shining example is Quick Start, which raises money to provide support and counselling and promotes early screening to determine children's needs. This is the creation of the grandmother of two autistic children, Suzanne Jacobson, who knows first-hand that the wait for treatment can be harrowing, especially since early intervention is key.
The Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre
[...] We have been in a unique partnership with QuickStart — Early Intervention for Autism since 2007.
This partnership led to the development of an innovative early intervention program designed to provide critical support to parents of children identified at risk (between 18 months and 6 years) who were on a waiting list for a diagnosis. Since 2008 this new service has provided access to multidisciplinary therapist specializing in children with exceptionalities. Parents are provided with key supports and information along with professional specific strategies for their children while they are waiting for the diagnostic assessment. We have seen first hand how this early intervention model has been having a significant impact on the families and children. A high percentage of the children served have gone on to be diagnosed with autism.
Each year we develop new approaches to increase capacity to meet the growing needs. Our partnership with QuickStart has been much more than a source of charitable revenue to offer this service: it has been a partnership at each step of the way: program design and implementation, evaluation and identification of future vision.
Anne Huot, Director of Client Programs and Information