Mother of son with autism feels guilt, but no regret over decision to leave him in government care
Published Friday, September 6, 2013 5:11PM EDT Last Updated Friday, September 6, 2013 9:51PM EDT
The mother of a man with severe autistism says she still feels the guilt of leaving her son, out of desperation, at a government office. But Amanda Telford knows in her heart it was the right thing to do.
CTV News first told you about this story five months ago. Today, CTV News caught up with Amanda and her 20-year-old son Philippe once again to find out where life has taken them.
Her story captured the nation's attention for weeks and shone a spotlight on the desperation that many parents of children with autism are feeling . Now, Telford’s son has a temporary place to stay and a grassroots movement is forming to push for a Family Bill of Rights.
“We struggle with a lot of guilt over what we felt we had to do and a lot of anger over what we were compelled to do,” says Telford, outside the east-end Ottawa school her son attends. The stress lines are almost gone from her face. Twenty years of caring, round the clock, for her severely autistic son had taken a toll on Telford and her family. But last April, out of desperation, she made a heart-wrenching and very public decision.Telford, who is a social worker, left Philippe at government office for adults with developmental disabilities.
Philippe, who has the body of an adult, functions at the level of a two year old. The Telfords worried they could no longer keep him safe in their home. Their decision forced the province to find him a temporary place to stay.
"Philippe has been in same group home for 4 months since early May and has done well,” says Telford.
But he will have to move from that home in a few days to ANOTHER temporary location. There is no permanent home yet for Philippe, or hundreds of other adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario.
A strategy group is now working on a Family Bill of Rights that would guarantee help to families with children like Philippe.
"We want to examine what’s happening elsewhere,” says Miriam Fry, a member of the group’s strategy team, “and put a proposal together to say these things belong in Canadian society.”
Fry says once an adult with developmental disabilities turns 18,
Ontario's ombudsman is expected to release his report into this issue by the end of the year or early 2014. Andre Marin has received nearly one thousand complaints from families like the Telfords.