Mission Statement: This blog was created to provide information on getting help for autism in general while focussing on locally available resources for families with newly diagnosed children in Belleville and Quinte area.

Please browse the blog at your leisure. You are welcome to comment on the posts. If you are a parent, an autism consultant, counselor, teacher with information on autism resources available in our area, please email your information to benziesangma@gmail.com. Your information will be added within 24 hours.

Local Autism Support Groups

Parents Engaging Autism Quinte (PEAQ), an autism parent support group, meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month (no meetings in January, July and August) at Kerry's Place, 189 Victoria Avenue, Belleville at 6:30 to 8 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for autism topics that are important to you so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. Next PEAQ meeting is on June 5.

Autism parent support group meeting hosted by Mental Health Agency, Trenton and Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) meeting is on the Second Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If you have require any further information please contact Marya Peters for more information at 613 392-2811 ext 3953 or email marya.p@trentonmfrc.ca

For info on Community Living Prince Edward County Parent Support group, contact Resource Consultants @ 613 476 6038

Central Hastings Autism Support Group meets in Madoc at the Recreation Centre. Contact Renee O’Hara, Family Resource & Support, 613-966-7413 or Tammy Kavanagh, Family Resource & Support, 613-332-3227

Transition planning for elementary school students with autism

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bullying And Our Children With Disability

One hears a lot of conversations about bullying at school these days. It's not something new, some dismiss it. Others want to discuss it but feel there is nothing they can do. Yet others want to attack it vigorously for a few days and let it run out of steam. When the smoke clears, the bullying problem still looms over our children who are spending at least 6 hours, with or without support, in the midst of their peers at schools each day. When threatened by a bully, the child automatically looks around for an adult for help. So, is that adult there to see what has happened, right the wrong and make that child safe again? I doubt it. In most cases, these incidents happen when there are no authority figures around - in the bathrooms and at a distance from that one adult supervising the playground. So then, what needs to happen? What will help address that situation? The schools need to do something, parents demand. School administration says it has in place measures to address the problem and that parents need to do more to help their children by being more actively involved in spending time talking with their children. If we can picture the situation we have on one side parents and the other side school administration shoving the fate of those children back and forth. Both sides feel that they have done enough and the other party needs to do more. Meanwhile, an individual child caught in that situation goes to school every day and gets through his/her day as best as he/she could. Just picture the whole scenario in your head or draw it if you have to see and understand the plight of such a child looking at the adults surrounding him/her. But, the issue rarely gets outside the parking lot of the school where parents sometimes stand around and catch up with each other on school-related matters involving their children.
Us adults not doing anything is no longer acceptable. By not being concerned about it and proactively addressing the bullying issue puts all children, especially our special needs children attending regular schools, at serious risk. While typically developing children can most of the time come back home and tell their parents what happened at school, children like my son cannot. He cannot remember the details of what happened, who was there around him, who was responsible for the incident and what time of the day did it happen. His stories about challenges at school are so fragmented that I can't even make head or tail of it except know that he's been somehow bullied. How many such incidents must happen everyday and go unaddressed because our special needs children can't remember the facts of the story and makes it hard to get it straight even when you'd like to have it addressed?
If you're reading this and you're a parent of these more vulnerable children, you know it in your heart we have to be on a lookout for such situations involving our children at schools. The adults around them, us parents and the school administration, need to listen to each other and work together for a solution to help the child. He/she is dependent on us to keep them safe. He/she needs to trust that we can and will keep them protected by putting our heads together and coming up with solutions - for their sake!

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In it for the long haul...

I created this blog with my sincere wish that those of you reading this will want to share your own stories, both good and bad, what worked for you and what didn't and together, we can make it easier for the next family beginning their own journey of discovery. By posting what you know, where you have recieved certain services, who you have talked to, whose expertise you trust, how you navigated the school education services and by responding to questions in the discussion thread, know that you have helped a family in need. So, parents, experts in the field, counsellors, teachers and everyone who has any information on resources available, please feel free to post on this blog.