Letters to the Editor

Tragic deaths in Prince Rupert avoidable


I am writing in response to the utterly tragic deaths of Angie and Robert Robinson.

The needs of people with autism and their families vary greatly. For some, a high level of independence is possible. The needs of others can be hugely underestimated.

In my extended family there is a young man with severe autism. His parents, a highly caring and motivated couple, worked valiantly to keep him at home. Despite much professional support and education, there came a point when the family's mental health was highly compromised. The parents came to the heartbreaking conclusion they needed another home for their son.

That was just the beginning of an exhausting struggle, to set up a suitable and sustainable living arrangement. It required lobbying power and resources beyond the reach of many couples, not to mention single parents. In the end there was some B.C. government funding, but due largely to the effects on a younger sibling.

There will be no "one size fits all" solution for people like Robert and their families. However, more must obviously be done to address their needs. I believe that given the right resources, Angie and Robert would still be alive.

Given the right resources, they could have had many happy times ahead.

Heather Sones

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