Ontario, Canada – The McIntosh’s are in dire need for a crisis center for their son on the spectrum, Cliff, who has violent outbursts. Since outbursts have made Cliff a frequent visitor of local ER’s some hospitals have refused him care.
The outbursts started as typical tempter tantrums but grew more harmful as Cliff aged. Now aged 13, he is five foot six and 175 pounds, making his meltdowns more like explosions. Canada’s news outlet The Star met with his mother, Laura Kirby-McIntosh, who described the meltdowns as seizures. He yells wildly, punches, and kicks. They can happen at any time, in any place. A month ago Cliff’s meltdown was so strong that he was able to overpower his father and put a hole in the wall, something he was never able to do before.
“He feels bad afterwards,” Laura told The Star, “but he can’t control it. It comes from a primitive place.”
Because of this, the McIntosh’s and families like them are in dire need of a place for their children to calm down. Since autism is on the rise, Ontario has increased funding for the learning difference to $186 million. But according to The Star, families with autism are not getting the help they need.
Recently Cliff has a outburst at school. Police had to be called to sedate him. Once at the hospital doctors did not know how to help, seeing as the atmosphere of harsh noises and harsher smells only exacerbated the situation. What’s worse is that this is only one of the two dozen incidents in two years that have caused hospitals to refuse Cliff admission.
Laura told The Star.
“Everywhere you go, there are wait-lists; there are people who say no,”
According to Don Blaine who is a chair of Autism Canada, the McIntosh’s situation is all too common. The 2007 Senate called for more funding for autism programs, but, as Blaine told The Star “unfortunately, the situation hasn’t changed a lot.”
Ministry of Children and Youth Services spokesperson Breanne Betts says there are crisis intervention programs available while the government contends any parent can call Youthdale for help, but Laura wants a psychical place for her son to calm down in.
Cliff thinks the ideal autism crisis center is one with specialized doctors who would allow him to say for a few days if needed. It would also be outfitted with a ball pit, soothing music and lights, a trampoline, and a pool-things he knows will calm him down easily. He calls this imagined center, Calm-A, a place to relax.
The original article on The Star website by Marco Chown Oved can be found here
Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead