Written by Tim Rout

Autism is an often misunderstood spectrum of disorders that can leave parents exhausted, extended family bewildered, and neighbours shaking their heads in disbelief.

Jeff and Karen Beamish head a Cochrane family who moved north last year in order to take advantage of the wide open spaces that are so helpful to their eleven year old son Daniel.

Jeff Beamish says most people don’t realize how common autism is and how difficult it can be to discipline a child with the disorder.  Jeff’s two daughters, ages nine and five, are neurologically normal, meaning they do not require a modified disciplinary protocol.

Beamish says if you see a child behaving in an especially unruly manner in public, don’t jump to conclusions.  The issue may not be bad parenting.  Many autistic children can be overwhelmed by the noise and unpredictability of public spaces.

Presently, the Ontario government is modifying the way autism care will be funded.  The new system puts the parents of autistic children in the driver’s seat, with up to twenty-thousand dollars per autistic child to be spent as Mom and Dad see fit.