The challenges faced by parents raising children with autism in the north has been well documented following the tragic deaths of Angie and Robert Robinson last April, and now the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) is hosting a special weekend that will give children with autism the opportunity to experience summer camp while offering parents some respite and a chance to network with others in the region.
Children and parents from 20 families located in Prince Rupert will join others from Prince George, Terrace, Fort St. John and other northern communities will be flown to Vancouver courtesy of Pacific Coastal Airlines on Aug. 7. Once landed, the children will be taken to a CAN camp in Port Moody for the weekend while the parents will be provided with a complementary hotel stay and discounted passes to restaurants and attractions. On Aug. 9, the parents and youth will come together for a banquet and information session at the Pacific Gateway hotel to meet others and learn about services available in their hometown.
Prince Rupert mother Christine Danroth has been pushing for increased support for parents of children with autism and she says this is an experience that will make a difference in the lives of parents.
“In the past I have felt isolated due to a lack of resources in my region,” she said.
“Because of the lack of support, parents can get burnt out with exhaustion and their kids can suffer from it. This camp will allow parents from the North to have some respite and for the kids to go to camp and just be who they are. It will also allow us parents to connect and share and realize that we are not alone – and that is an added bonus.”
CAN chief executive office Katy Harandi said this is just one way the organization is reaching out to parents in the northern part of the province.
“At CAN, we strive to build networks and increase accessibility and our hope is that the camp will act as a catalyst to bring families together and make them aware of the support that is available to them. We will also engage in training opportunities to further build capacity in the North,” she said.