Raising Awareness for Autism is an Everyday Event
Pascale Aubut-Delormier, Kayloni Delormier, Scott Peters holding Kaleb Peters, Valerie Mitchell and Shelby Adams-Mitchell.
For residents of Akwesasne, meeting the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurological disorders can be a daunting task. However, even more challenging is living on the northern portion of the territory, where access to services is limited. As it stands, families who reside on the northern portion of the territory are required to seek treatment outside of the territory, either in Cornwall, or in the US. With funding cuts on in the US, the ability for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to cover the majority of the treatment for special needs children has been diminished to the point where they now have to ask for full reimbursement from those in the northern portion.
Mohawk Council, under its own financial constraints cannot afford to cover treatment all on its own, and can only provide for a portion of the cost, when that allotment is exhausted, so are the services. For many children, the allotment only allows for a few hours a week, leaving those needing more hours of extensive treatments at a disadvantage. For the families that fall under Quebec Health, they cannot get treatment in Cornwall or any alternative therapies that families may choose to adopt funded, so their only options are traveling and costly out of pocket expenses.
A survey that was conducted by Pascale Aubut-Delormier was tallied and on Wednesday, July 24, Aubut-Delormier met with local families to discuss the results. The survey was created to assess whether there was a need for increased services as well as increased information/awareness, and whether access to support mechanisms was adequate.
Seventeen parents of special needs children and 17 community members and professionals responded to the survey. The results are that community members would like to see more autism awareness and services. From the professional side they would like to have more training workshops on the subject. Family members of special needs children indicated that they wanted to know more about Autism and Neurological Disorders, including treatment options and information about the diagnoses themselves.
The gathering was also to share the news that the groups World Autism Day gathering at the Peacetree Mall was featured in the magazine Autism Matters. The event also garnered a pledge of financial support from the Bank of Montreal for their event next year, as well as a promise to host the event at the Akwesasne branch. Aubut-Delormier also shared with the group that the statistics for the disorder had climbed to a number of 1 in 50.
Valerie Mitchell, a grandparent of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder speaking about her grandson Kaleb Peters said, “We just want a good education program that’s going to meet his needs, and meet his potential.” Mitchell added, “I was really upset when I went to social services and they said they can’t help. They didn’t have any services geared towards autism.”