North Bay mom blogs about daily life with kids on the autism spectrum
You get your diagnosis and no one ever tells you — Here, this is what you do next'
A North Bay mom is giving people a candid and personal look into life with two autistic children.
As part of World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, Michelle Webster started posting video blogs on Facebook.
In the videos she talks about everything from dealing with meltdowns and difficult family functions, to showcasing the unique personalities and behaviours of her kids.
Two of Webster's three kids have autism. Her 10-year-old son Max has moderate to severe autism, while 14-year-old Robyn has severe autism and is unable to communicate using words.
"Sometimes I feel like the images and the messages that are put out there by some autism agencies and the media don't really reflect my kids," Webster told CBC News.
"I thought it was really the best way I could think of to promote awareness and education about what autism is really like to live with."
She said that having two kids on opposite sides of the autism spectrum gives her a unique perspective.
Support decreases as kids age, mother says
Webster said she welcomes $333 million in new funding for autism recently announced by the Ontario government, but she's concerned the money is primarily focused on children under the age of six.
She noted people often think of autism as a childhood disorder, when it isn't.
"What happens is your children grow, their services deplete, and their needs increase. And when you put all those dynamics together, it makes for a very scary place."
Webster said getting support is a constant struggle — and the effort has sometimes left her pleading with agencies for help.
A year ago, when Robyn was dealing with violent episodes, Webster ended up at her local Community Living begging for help.
"I was bawling. And I was angry. And I just spewed at them. And I said, 'you have to do something. And if you don't know what to do you have to find me someone that does so my family can survive this and so that Robyn can be safe'," she said.
"It's really unfortunate that things have to get to complete crisis."
Through her blog, Webster said she hopes to give people a personal take on her experiences, and give them a human face to a disorder that affects 1 in 68 people. Autism is now the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada.
"I really just wanted as many people having conversations about autism this week and I think that it's been achieved."