We were interviewed last week by Bryan Mullan from Global news to be part of a feature about services for families with autism and the effectiveness of early intervention.
I don't know when the piece will air. He's still interviewing people and gathering footage but he's promised to let me know.
At the end of the interview, he asked me if I blamed the government for Alex's lack of progress since they didn't have early intervention for him. My automatic response was cautious. Blame is a strong word and I didn't think it accurately reflected my feelings.
Since then I've been thinking about it more. Being a perfectionist who does better with a keyboard then impromptu comments and having myself this blog as an outlet, I've decided to give it another go.
There are undisputed facts. We had to wait a year for diagnosis and then another two years for government-funded comprehensive treatment. As the government does not endorse any treatment method for autism, we were left to figure out the best path on our own. Because of the delays, Alex's progress is somewhat less than it potentially could have been.
I don't blame the government. Autism is expensive to treat and a relatively new phenomena, only first diagnosed in the 60's and initially thought to be the result of emotional abuse. The government is a massive bureaucracy, with all the caution and inertia so implied. They had made a practical political decision to turn a blind eye to this particular problem and focus on other issues.
Now they are becoming more aware. Now they know that an untreated child is likely to become a burden to the taxpayers, along with his parents who are likely to have burned out their savings and retirement years to manage their child's treatment. They know that effective early intervention is possible.
If they continue to choose to place the burden exclusively on the families, then I will blame them for their inaction. I can accept slow change but I will not accept willful blindness. Once they know, then they have a duty to act.