Sunday, October 23, 2011


By Dr. Ron Unruh

Ayn is autistic. She wandered from home. She was found. Days later MCFD removed her from her daddy’s home. Well not quite. They surreptitiously apprehended her at her school when her daddy wasn’t there. Is Christy Clark’s MCFD really in harmony with her widely touted pro-family credo? )

For the uninitiated Autism is characterized, by a triad of social impairments, namely impairment of social recognition, of social communication, and of social understanding and imagination, or stated as three types of disability:
  • Rigidity of thought and behaviour, and limited imagination or imaginative play where the individual may carry out ritualistic actions, or focus upon minor details (such as an item of clothing rather than the person, or part of a toy rather than the whole thing);
  • Limited verbal and non-verbal communication with a lack of true two-way conversational skills, a failure to understand the emotions, gestures, or ideas of others, and an over-literalness in interpreting what is said; Difficulty with social relationships, with an appearance of aloofness or indifference, and with inappropriate or repetitive styles of approach if contact is initiated.

It is a daunting and unfortunate reality that although childhood autism is occurring in almost ‘epidemic’ proportions, the government and doctors still have very little knowledge about properly structuring the best kind of teaching. It’s certain that the child protection units around here do not understand autism or SWs would not injudiciously take a child that is happy at home and place her in a strange and clinical place for days, and then finally place her in a foster home where we must hope there are foster parents who are acquainted with the requisite care needed by Ayn VanDyk.

If the Abbotsford crew of MCFD child protection workers were informed, they would not have taken Ayn VanDyk from her father Derek Hoare. They would instead have spared no effort to learn what resources they could make available to Derek that would assist him to continue the remarkable level of love and care he provides to his three children and in fact would enhance that care.

An autistic child needs structured instruction in order to learn and to develop. The need for structure in learning is supported by bases such as these. Autistic children do not use or respond to language with ease as do other children. Some find great difficulty communicating what they want to say. Sometimes that difficulty translates into aggressive behaviour and/or tantrums. Autistic children can experience difficulty accessing their sequential memories (keeping events in order). This too may render the child uncooperative or belligerent.

Yet the autistic child will react better to a consistent, modeled and reinforced pattern of behaviour and teaching. For that reason some of the best teaching and learning that can develop an autistic child, begins and ends at home. For Ayn, home is where Derek and her brothers are. In this home is where this child learns to become a functioning member of society, to interact with those close to her, to have manners, to do certain things that will help her grow and develop. Ayn VanDyk has been receiving all of this loving and caring structure in her home and this has been appreciatively augmented in a local school. MCFD upset all of this.

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