Needs of Children with Autism
November 2, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
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Susan Fentie-Pearce is the mother of Keith and Kyle. Malcolm Stanley is the father of Megan. All three of these children have autism. Susan and Malcolm talk about their professional backgrounds and their experience as family caregivers for children with autism. They discuss the challenges they have met and continue to meet as family caregivers. They say why and when it is most important for family caregivers to become the eyes, ears and voice of their autistic children. They explain, for a child with autism, when is it important to keep private the information that he or she has the condition, and when is it important for the information to be shared, and with whom should it be shared. They talk about the quality of life for children with autism and their families. They tell us what makes the sun shine for them and their children. They talk about their activism, compare the services that the children and their families need, and say what needs to be done to improve these services.
Family Caregivers Unite!
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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.
Dr. Gordon Atherley
Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.
Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.