I can’t begin to imagine how to convey my gratitude to The Autism Program and the Comox Valley Child Development Association.
Our association began with the surprise diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) for our son, who was then entering Grade 12.
When we began at TAP he was an angry, depressed, withdrawn, 17-year-old with severe trust issues and some challenging behaviours.
Katie Sharp was assigned to work with him, for which we are eternally grateful. Katie’s patience, kindness, sensitivity and iron will inspired a hard-earned sense of trust in our son, and also renewed our family’s trust, lost after years of struggling with the educational system and medical professionals.
Katie didn’t shy away from difficult but necessary conversations with our son or with us, and we are grateful because it enabled us to understand the need to change our approach in how we dealt with our son as much as he needed to change some of his behaviours to “fit in” in order to reduce his discomfort with society.
Our son, although still facing the societal challenges common to those with this disorder, can now express himself in a variety of ways. He has acquired a new sense of confidence in his ability to interact with the outside world. He has come to accept himself, differences and all. We are all so proud of the work he did in his year-and-a-half at TAP.
We also can’t forget all the people supporting Katie behind the scenes: April Statz, TAP’s director, has been an enormous source of support and knowledge, giving us the courage to begin and continue this journey; behavioral consultants Beth and Laurell, Rob, the volunteer counsellors for Camp Oasis, and the Comox Child Development Association for operating the program.
I encourage educational professionals, members of the business community, and local and provincial governmental agencies — and especially Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, who is already exploring this issue — to visit TAP to learn more about ASD.
It would be wonderful if each of us could adjust our expectations in order to truly include our kids in the community.
Thank you all so much.
Dave and Corrine Bainard