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LETTER: Not disabled, but differently abled

The 2018 Walk the Walk for Autism was held in Yarmouth on June 16. The fundraising walk raised $16,107. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
The 2018 Walk the Walk for Autism held in Yarmouth, N.S. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

In a recent news article by CBC, published in March of 2018, I was shocked to read that one in 66 Canadian children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It has also been reported that autism will increase 20 per cent by the year 2020. In previous years, it seemed like there was one autistic student per school, but now, it seems like there is one in every class. Early intervention with ASD children has shown incredible results, but it is vital that intervention be given at an early age.

My five-year-old cousin was diagnosed with autism at the age of four but was hindered from getting intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) due to an eight-month waiting list. With him, I have personally seen the tremendous effects that IBI intervention has in an autistic child’s life, but sadly, many children with ASD go untreated. As the slogan for the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf so aptly puts it, I believe children with autism are Not ‘Disabled’, just ‘Differently-Abled’. There is no shame in having a child with autism—they are unique! They see and experience in ways others cannot, and they are highly intelligent. It starts with your parents.

Knowing your child has autism yet living in denial only hinders them from leading an even more successful life. Remember, your autistic child is special and deserves every opportunity to improve their life and succeed in every aspect of life. “A child with autism is not ignoring you, they are simply waiting for you to enter their world”.

Zoe Good

UPEI student

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