This week’s guest contributor is Christine, an educator, an advocate, and a mom who has made a positive impact in the northwestern community of Prince Rupert. She inspired organizations like Inclusion BC to provide support in her town, and believes that her late friend Angie Robinson, would be happy to see that supports are changing. To learn more about Christine, her son Parker, and her thoughts having autism in their lives, see her post below.
The original post was shared on April 2, and is reprinted with permission for posAbilities’ audience.
Meet Christine’s Son Parker
“World Autism Day 💙. This day always gives me pause as I flashback to losing two very special humans, Angie and Robbie Robinson. Their deaths made me realize we needed more support in rural areas for Autism. It then became my goal to make that happen. I did my very best to advocate, talk to other parents with newly diagnosed children and to bring up individuals with strategies that worked on strengths.”
“Parker lives with Autism. Since he was two and a half years old he has worked hard at speech therapy, occupational therapy, feeding, and behavioural therapy. It has been my second full-time job and he has had to work hard at everything he has accomplished. He has given up play times and parts of his vacation. After five years of intense therapy, we have made huge progress. He continues to play sports, he has friends, and he loves his family and his dogs. There was a time when I felt very alone, I didn’t know many people with Autism. Angie was the first person I confided in. She was a source of positive words and hope.”
“I now look around and I see other parents advocating for their children, they are passionate about people understanding Autism and all of its pieces. I’m inspired daily that this little town has embraced learning more about it. I am very proud to have Autism in our lives. Parker has the best memory, passion for music, and sense of humour.”
“Autism is a spectrum it can be very challenging and it also can be unbelievably rewarding.”
As we acknowledge Autism Awareness Month in B.C, we remember the tragic and untimely deaths of Angie Robinson, the mother of a youth with autism, and her son Robbie. Both were beloved community members in the small northern town of Prince Rupert, BC. On April 3 of 2014, Angie took her son’s life, followed by her own. Shock waves spread across B.C, and calls for major changes to increase the resources available for families and workers involved with children who have complex behavioural challenges emerged. Among some of the suggestions for change were increasing autism training for child and youth workers, offering free autism training for parents, and ensuring that there be more consultation and communication between authorities who deal with youth and family-related behavioural issues.
It has been five years since Angie and Robbie passed away, and we must consistently strive to fill the gaps in resources. Government agencies, service providers, educators, neighbours, family members, and friends all play vital roles in the lives of children. It really does take a village to raise a child, particularly one that is inclusive, encouraging, and accepting.
Please see the growing list of resources available in Prince Rupert below, and check out www.findsupportbc.com for a database of services across all regions. If you have a resource to share, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you or a loved one is in need of support, please see the list of resources below:
Outside of Metro Vancouver, posAbilities’ Laurel Behaviour Support Services are available in Greater Victoria and central Vancouver Island communities, as well as the North and South Okanagan.