(Canada) Halifax mother pleads for help for violent son with autism; "drastic increase" in cases

Nov 30, 2017, (Canada) CTV: Family 'scared' as boy with severe autism faces release without home supports A Halifax-area mother issued an emotional plea for help Thursday for her family and for her nine-year-old son, who is due to be released next week from a confined hospital unit but suffers from violently aggressive fits of frustration because of his severe autism. "Our Callum is a nine-year-old little boy and he's scared -- we're scared," Carly Sutherland told reporters during a news conference at the Nova Scotia legislature. "We need help and we are at the point where I am sitting in front of strangers begging you to share our story," she said through sobs as she was supported by her husband John. Sutherland said her family is living a "nightmare," because there are no proper supports or treatment for Callum. Sutherland said her son was admitted to the IWK Children's Hospital Oct. 19, and remains confined to an isolated unit for safety reasons because there is no appropriate therapy available. She said Callum is far too violent to participate in the unit's school or recreational therapy, and isn't verbal enough to access counselling services. Sutherland said her son, whom she described as "an awesome little guy," began losing his limited communication skills over the past year to the point where they "dropped off a cliff."... … "I call on the government of Nova Scotia to right the egregious wrong that is our treatment of children with autism in crisis and their families. Our family and the families who have faced this before us ... need appropriate crisis intervention services," Sutherland said. Vicki Harvey, community outreach coordinator with Autism Nova Scotia, said the Sutherlands' story is not an isolated case. Although she couldn't provide statistics, Harvey said her organization has seen a "drastic increase" in calls from families and individuals dealing with similar problems. "There is nothing to offer them," said Harvey. "So we need the government to come together to work with ... autism experts to come up with ways to provide supports and systems to the community." … Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie, whose party organized Thursday's media event, said families like the Sutherlands shouldn't have to call a press conference to get their children help.