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PLEASE CHECK BACK AS I AM IN THE PROCESS OF UPDATING THIS WEB SITE WITH A NEW PAPER TRAIL, MEDIA UPDATES AND STORY OF BETRAYAL AND ABANDONMENT OF THE 'NEW' LIBERAL GOVERNMENT, AGAINST A LITTLE BOY WHO DOES NOT YET SPEAK BUT WHOSE VOICE MUST BE HEARD.
How Lynn Middleton, Regional MCF Team Leader
Doug Hughes, MCF Area Manager
Rick Childerhose, MCF Regional Operating Officer
B.C. Minister for Children and Families, Lois Boone
". . . why are they bullying my son?"
Barbara Rodrigues, Penticton, B.C.
'Disabled child gets no help from NDP'
'BC Children's Commission Investigates Boone Decision'
"...as a ministry, we do not provide Lovaas treatment, or any other particularly named treatment, for autistic children"
Hansard, June 9, 1999, page 13471.
There is a tragedy unfolding in Penticton, British Columbia. Barbara and Joe Rodrigues, parents of young Jeremy, a boy with autism, are struggling to save their son from a life of institutionalization and dependency. Barbara Rodrigues is now taking her five-year-old son Jeremy's plight to the public, in attempt to overturn the cruel, uncaring actions of the BC Government and its Ministry for Children and Families (MCF), which have refused to accept their legal, moral and ethical responsibilities towards children disabled by autism.
Jeremy's autism worsened after two years of "approved" BC government programs which amount to nothing more than baby-sitting. Just ten months of privately-funded Lovaas Autism Treatment produced remarkable improvement, but MCF and the BC Government refuse to support any part of it, despite the fact that Lovaas Therapy is the ONLY scientifically proven treatment in existence for children with autism.
With only personal financial resources, Barbara and Joe somehow managed to start a physician-prescribed autism treatment program for Jeremy that is proving to be extremely effective. Their son is making startling gains in the few months he has been in treatment. But the autism treatment is very expensive to maintain. It must be paid for privately since BC Medicare does not cover the cost of autism treatment. Barbara and Joe are continuing to press for help for their son from a shockingly malevolent BC Children's Ministry and its South Interior bureaucrats who have turned their back on Jeremy.
Government bureaucrats from BC Children's Ministry -- the civil servants responsible for children with autism -- refuse to reimburse even a small portion of Jeremy's treatment, especially now that an autism treatment law suit was filed against the BC Government in August '98 by parents from Surrey, BC. Southern Interior bureaucrats in the Children's Ministry are adamant in their refusal to offer any financial help that can be used to pay for treatment. They steadfastly refuse to provide the medical treatment he requires. Instead, they want to put Jeremy back into Government sponsored autism programs that in the past were entirely ineffective in treating his autism. Rather than support effective treatment, these Children's Ministry bureaucrats want to let Jeremy languish and deteriorate in Government programs that have proven to be an utter failure. Jeremy's parents can't let that happen to their son.
But without Government financial help, the Rodrigues family may not for long be able to continue the critically important treatment Jeremy's pediatrician says he urgently needs to overcome autism. The sad truth is this BC Government has turned its back on children with autism. The bureaucrats who live here in the Southern Interior of BC are also saying "NO" to effective autism treatment and "no" to the future well being and independence of a little Penticton boy bravely fighting a devastating, but treatable, neurological disability.
The letters and documents available here for everyone to read, tell a story of tragedy, shame and determination: the tragedy of autism; the shame of BC Government neglect; and the determination of 2 parents to save their son. This web site is a story of parents fighting for their son's future against the odds and against a heartless, malevolent BC Government and its bureaucratic machine. The struggle for Jeremy's future has exposed uncaring Okanagan provincial bureaucrats who have failed in their duty towards disabled children. This is a story British Columbians may find difficult to imagine... how government bureaucrats can so coldly steal a disabled child's future by just closing their eyes, turning their backs and simply saying "no".
Every voter and tax payer in British Columbia will be able to make up their own mind on the priorities of this provincial Government and the questionable caliber of BC Children's Ministry civil servants we entrust with caring for the most vulnerable in BC... our disabled children.
"What is Autism?" & "Effective Treatment Exists"
PRESS RELEASE, April 6, 1998,"Disabled child gets no help from NDP, Children's Commission investigates Boone decision" (Victoria, British Columbia). PRESS KIT (2 publication quality photos at300 dpi -- 2620K)
Click for Larger View
PRESS RELEASE, October 27 1998, "GOVERNMENT ABANDONS AUTISTIC CHILD, Mother pickets Southern Interior Ministry for Children and Families" (Penticton, British Columbia). Press Release in Acrobat format
"Penticton Herald"(front page) "Mother battles ministry to fund autism treatment"
"Penticton Herald"(front page) "Alberta pays for treatment rejected in B.C."
"Penticton Herald" "Minister confirms autism treatment won't be funded"
"The Okanagan" "Mother fights for autism funds"
"Penticton Herald" Reports BC Children's Ministry neglect of child with autism "Funding cut off for autism care" Click here to read Front Page and page A3 of Penticton Herald articles on Jeremy Rodrigues (HTML format).
"Funding cut off for autism care" Penticton Herald, Front Page (acrobat PDF format)
'Lovaas' treatment brightens young eyes' Penticton Herald, page A3 article (acrobat PDF format)
"B.C. government yet to endorse treatment" Penticton Herald, page A3 article (acrobat PDF format)
"Autistic children deserve better" (Letters to the Editor)
"Story turns spotlight on autism treatment" (Letters to the Editor)
"Family trying to obtain effective treatment for autistic son"
"Parents fight for autistic son" Kelowna Daily Courier (Letters to the Editor)
'Mom pickets for funding to treat son with autism' Penticton Herald (acrobat PDF format)
"Sad to see 'cure' within grasp" Penticton Herald (Letters to the Editor)
click here to watch BCTV News:"Battle with the BC Government for Lovaas Autism Treatment" (Real Video)
CBC Radio News: "100 days of picketing; Interview with Barbara Rodrigues and Ministry for Children and Families' Robin Sime" (Real Audio)
click here to watch CHBC TV News: "Mother Pickets BC Government" (Real Video)
CBC Radio News: "Report on Autism; Interview with Barbara Rodrigues" (Real Audio)
click here to watch CHBC TV News: "Petition for Jeremy's Treatment" (Real Video)
Penticton Radio, hourly broadcasts: "Petition for autism treatment at Cherry Lane Mall" (Real Audio)
Real Player is required to listen/view news broadcasts. Click here to download a free copy of Real Player
"BC Ministry for Children Abandons Boy with Autism"
This page is about a little boy BC Government bureaucrats want to sacrifice
It's about a heartless Children's Ministry bureaucracy in South Okanagan run amuck
It's about taking a stand to save our son's future
Our son's name is Jeremy. He is 4-years-old. He loves books, playing outside, all the Sesame Street Characters and anything water related. Jeremy also has autism, a neurological disorder affecting 1 in 1000 children. It affects the areas of verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction and reasoning, making it difficult for persons with this disorder to communicate with others and to relate to the world around them. But there is a scientifically proven method of treating autism and that is with Lovaas-type autism treatment. Our son has been in a Lovaas program for five months and is showing dramatic progress in all areas! This autism treatment program currently is NOT funded by the Government, and to try and get any support for this treatment -- deemed 'medically necessary autism treatment' by 63 Licenced B.C. Psychiatrists -- I have to deal with not the Ministry of Health and Jeremy's Doctors but with the unqualified Ministry for Children and Families and its Social Workers . .
Last March, with the help of FEAT of B.C., I managed to access and obtain some funding from the Ministry for Children and Families (MCF) through a day care program which granted me a six month individualized funding contract. While this was only a portion (20-25%) of the cost of treatment, it was a tremendous and much relied on subsidy. This past September 1998, my contract was up for renewal and the Ministry will not renew my individualized funding. I have been to war (a letter writing war) since June when they tried to renege on my original six month contract and again now, because they refuse to renew my contract since an autism treatment law suit was filed against them in August '98 by the Auton family in Surrey, B.C. BC Children's Ministry staff, who are not medical professionals, are trying to tell me what my child needs in the way of treatment. They are ignoring Doctor's written letters prescribing Lovaas autism treatment for our son. They are trying to tell me that I have to use their ineffective services and their irrelevant supports. Well, we have used these inadequate and incompetent services and personnel before. We have watched in terror and frustration as our son made no gains and actually lost ground; watched as his aggressive behaviors and rage with his inability to communicate increased; watched as he grew more frustrated at being unable to learn; watched as his stimulatory behaviors became more frequent and bizarre; watched as he himself seemed to slip farther and farther away from us... from our world. I cannot adequately describe to you the utter helplessness and terror of watching as your child is screaming, raging, pulling his hair out . . . or the complete anguish you feel, when in the midst of one of these outbursts, your eyes connect with your son's . . . and at that moment you see that his eyes, full of tears, are screaming, pleading, begging . . . for you to help him, to understand him . . .a cry for help so strong, you can almost hear the words.
Well, now we have found help. Our son is learning, he is happy, he is content and he is making progress. But now, due a lawsuit filed by a Surrey family trying to get the B.C. Government to fully fund Lovaas therapy, the NDP Government has sent out a memorandum denying ALL individualized funding for parents using Lovaas autism treatment. So our son, our little boy is denied funding and treatment on the basis of a lawsuit we have nothing to do with. I encourage those of you visiting this site to please read 'The Paper Trail...', 'The Facts' and Jeremy's 'Amazing Progress Against Autism'. See for yourself what you think of our Government officials here in the Okanagan. I would also like to remind all of you that this money IS available to our son but only if I use it in their inadequate, useless programs . . . SO what is the problem with Lynn Middleton, Regional Team Leader, Doug Hughes, Area Manager and Rick Childerhose, Regional Operating Officer of B.C. Chidren's Ministry. . . why are they bullying my son??? I have tried to reason with them. I have written countless letters. I have complained about them to every agency that I can and yet still they deny my son help that is so vital to his recovery from Autism -- vital to his future well being and independence as a happy, self sustaining adult.
So now, I am taking a stand. For you see, some nine months ago, I stood up hesitantly at an M.L.A. Town Meeting, in a room full of strangers, and told our son's story . . . terrified and choking back the tears . . . I said,
"My name is Barbara Rodrigues"
"My son is Jeremy"
"He cannot speak"
"But his voice must be heard . . . "
[For information on how you can help Jeremy's voice be heard, please explore the rest of this site or click here to send your comments to key people.Thank you]
Please click here if you need a free copy of Acrobat Reader (to read the newspaper articles and Doctor's letters below)
Dr. R.E. McINTOSH, M.D:What Jeremy's doctor prescribes for his autism... Lovaas treatment (click here to read letter - Acrobat format)
The BC Government is making a "tremendous mistake" by not funding "Lovaas therapy". "[They will] come to realize... they have to offer effective therapy" , Dr. R.E. McINTOSH, M.D, Oct 21, 1998: (click here to read letter - Acrobat format)
Dr. M.I. deLEVIE, M.D. C.R.C.P. (C)What a prominent Vancouver pediatrician with a focus on autism prescribes for Jeremy... behavioural [Lovaas] treatment (click here to read - Acrobat format).
"[Autism] should be funded like other medical diseases" 10/15/98, P.2, A message to Government, Dr. M.I. deLEVIE, M.D. C.R.C.P. (C)
"A mother's speech to Mr. Rick Thorpe, member of the British Columbia Legislature" -- Barbara Rodrigues Speech to Rick Thorpe, M.L.A. Okanagan - Penticton, at M.L.A. Town Meeting, February 1998 .
The "System" Failed My Child (click here to read the story of Jeremy Rodrigues)
A story by Barbara Rodrigues on her experience with an Okanagan professional who withheld knowledge regarding the only autism treatment proven to work -- Lovaas Autism Treatment. Barbara eventually started the treatment for her son and he is finally starting to win his battle against autism.
"Amazing Progress against autism" What Jeremy was like after 2 years of ineffective BC Government autism programs, and after only 5 months of physician-prescribed Lovaas-type autism treatment.
"A mother's letter to the British Columbia Minister of Health" -- Barbara Rodrigues Open Letter to Penny Priddy, BC Minister of Health (click here to read the letter)
Government autism MEMO to BC Bureaucrats: ... a BC Government moratorium on funding used by parents for autism treatment of their children. Faxed to Children's Ministry bureaucrats AFTER an autism treatment law suit was filed in BC Supreme court against the BC Government, August 14, 1998, by the Auton family of Surrey, BC.
Gathering Support from the People: Petition at Cherry Lane Mall.
The Paper Trail of Correspondence with BC Government Bureaucrats: a record of frustration and aggravation in trying to get help from BC bureaucrats in Southern Interior MCF who really don't care about disabled children and don't want to do the right thing.
"Vancouver Sun" Exposes BC Government Incompetence in Treatment of Autism
"Chilliwack Progress" article on BC Government bias against Lovaas treatment Click here to read article
CBC Daybreak: "They're victimizing parents and therefore children with Autism. They're really stealing the future of these children." Interview with Dr. S.K. Freeman, Executive Director FEAT of BC (© CBC Radio, courtesy Spectrum webzine, Real Audio).
Mr. Rick Thorpe has been a staunch public and private supporter of Barbara and Joe's struggle to obtain effective treatment for their disabled son, Jeremy. He continues to be steadfast in his support of their dispute with this Government and its Children's Ministry bureaucracy in the Southern Interior
Okanagan-Penticton Member of Legislative Assembly (M.L.A.)
Mr. Rick Thorpe: Member Legislative Assembly of BC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Thorpe's Autism debate with Minister Lois Boone in the B.C. Legislature,
"House Committee of Supply, Estimates: Ministry for Children and Families"
Hansard Excerpt, June 9, 1999 Hansard_06_09_99.pdf
Mr. Gordon Campbell, Leader of the BC Liberal Opposition
Please fax a message of support to Mr. Campbell, Leader of The Opposition --fax via e-mail (i-fax free of charge)
Please contact us at: email@example.com
This web space donated by FEAT of BC
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Site updated December 1, 1999