I just finished talking on the phone with a mother of an adult son on the Autism spectrum and I had to come here to blog about it. I need to express my thoughts…my sadness, frustration and my hurt for the pain this mother and son are going through. The saddest thing is that I know they are not the only ones…
What do you tell a desperate mother who is seeking public help for their adult son on the spectrum (In URGENT need of behavioral intervention)?. That there is nothing in place in the public sector because past and present government officials do NOT care AT ALL about the special needs community in this country? That their pay only lip service when Autism Awareness month comes around like if our children are puppets or accessories to be used whenever they feel to? That they love to pose for useless pictures and give special speeches about Autism like if TALKING about it SOLVES the real issues?
I am sick of the talks, of the pictures, the ribbons and the balloons. I am tired to know that unless parents have loads of money to spend, there are no places for them to go to receive the kind of help they need. I feel disgusted at the uncaring, neglectful, insensitive NON-ACTION approach from those in power.
I am fed-up of hearing the solution lies on funding a few places to cater for the needs of the ENTIRE NATION instead of putting a NATIONAL AND PUBLIC system in place to cater for ALL and NOT ONLY for a few fortunate ones. I am appalled to know that there is not even the slightest interest to hear about a plan that could help alleviate the problem.
Children on the Autism spectrum have been forgotten for many years but adults on the spectrum have been forgotten completely. And some are walking in a very dangerous path… a path that might even lead them to be locked up…
This adult on the spectrum I am talking about might be in police custody very soon. He might even go to jail for doing something he is unable to control. His mind is like a young child but trapped in the body of a full-grown man, while still playing with his toy car…but the system does not care because they do not understand Autism.
What do you tell a desperate mother who went through the public system and they only have her going around in circles? What do you say to a mother whose child has become very aggressive due to medication he is receiving (After an incident that got him in trouble with the law)? What do you tell a mother who tells you she comes back home and all she does is cry and that she doesn’t know what else to do?
My heart is very heavy. I feel for this mother. I feel for her son. And I wish I could guide her to public resources available in Trinidad, places she can go to.…people she could visit…but I think she knows there is nothing in place if you have no money to spend…
All she could do was talk with me on the phone…and connect with me, heart to heart. Vent her sadness and frustration at a system that is constantly failing her and her son. A system that is so ridiculously merciless that is beyond human.
How can those with the ability to create policy and make the kind of changes this mother needs, can sleep so comfortably at night? Knowing that they keep failing and failing the same very people they are paid to SERVE?
I know the system is broken, but the system is not made of machines. It is made of people. If there is no empathy and care, how could any system be fixed?
“Can I call you back again Ms. Borde… just to talk? Sometimes I need to talk to someone…” she said as she was ending the conversation…
“Of course you can”, I answered.
That’s the least I could do, I thought to myself. Just listen… and hope for a miracle.