Age: 10
Provincial Riding: Toronto - Danforth
Here is our story:

Our family is fairly "new" to the autism community.
Our son, now almost 11, was diagnosed very shortly after his 9th birthday and exactly 4 days before we boarded a plane to Europe for a half a year stay.
We as parents knew "something" was different early on and especially after entering the school system it was evident.
He had mostly social troubles in kindergarten/school and was definitely not "part of the class", hiding under tables, sometimes getting aggressiv, not talking, seeking to be left alone.
At age 5, after seeing a professional and being told that our son "did not score high enough for an official diagnoses" but "had something going on", autism was off the table, because a professional told us so.
At the end of grade three, after asking for support from school and being denied several times, facing suspension for an eight year old, after my son had been bullied in class, after being asked to "volunteer" in class, after accompanying my son on every single field trip (because he may not be allowed to go without me) we were asked to see a professional again. The diagnosis:
Autism! He would need substantial support.
A lot of comments we got after that were "You must be relieved. Now you will get the support you need."
We were NOT relieved. We were sad, confused and our family was falling apart.
Yes, we did hope to now be able to receive support, after all we had a diagnosis and everyone told us that services like SSAH, DTC and OAP were there for us to support our family.
Fooled again. We did not know that in addition to the stress of our daily living, we would now have to fight to access the Disability Tax Credit, SSAH and the OAP.
My son is now almost 11, never received any therapy through the OAP, because just before his group therapy was to start the program got "frozen".
SSAH told us we were eligible, but "sorry, longer wait time". Ah, turns out also frozen.
We are in a "disguised fight" with the school board ever since to try and access appropriate support in school.
The added stress since the diagnosis has a mental and physical toll on the entire family.
I personally have given up hope to ever receiving meaningful support through the government and school. My son is too old for early intervention and the years of waiting are pushing his chances of inclusion in our society further out of reach.
The only thing I learned is that I now know, why our family has been slowly excluded from our community. Autism.
BUT, I am not giving up the fight, because this would mean giving up on any hope and on our lives.
I will be RELENTLESS for my children and for ALL the other children and families.

How can you help?

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