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A Place for Children with Developmental Disabilities in RMWB is More Than Just Bricks

My husband and I and our kids were all born and raised in RMWB. Our kids are 4 th generation. In 2012 at 2 years old my middle child was diagnosed with autism. Since then we’ve taken a lot of trips to Edmonton for help. I worry for the future. The support he needs just isn’t here.

– Kirsti Mardell

I’m a mother of 3 boys in RMWB. My husband and I were born and raised. We had our first son Sullivan in 2009. By his first birthday I noticed he didn’t like to make eye contact. By 2 years he stopped saying the one word he could say. At 3, on the advice the pediatrician told us to send him to Educare. They went above and beyond to get him seen by a specialist. The diagnosis was autism. Educare is doing everything they can. But I wish there were more services here in RMWB. My son needs more support here at home.

– Corinna Pitzel

There’s a story we need to tell you.

About families, right here in RMWB, who face challenges that most people just can’t imagine. Hard-working families with young children.

Families whose lives are shattered when they take their little one to the doctor and receive a diagnosis of autism or another developmental disability. How common is that? It’s 1 in 64 children. That’s a fact. * And the number is rising. There are over 1,000 of these families in RMWB.

They need and deserve all the help we can give them.

Then after a shattering diagnosis comes the referral to a whole team of specialists. These are doctors, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers and teachers.

The good news is that there are effective supports for kids with autism and other disabilities. It’s a team effort.

The bad news is that access to supports expertise is scattered and limited.

That means 2 things – that children in RMWB who need help get less of it than in the big cities and that the strain on families is that much harder.

RMWB is served by several organizations that work on behalf of these kids and their families. School boards do their best to help when kids enter school. But that’s too late – support needs to happen as early as 18 months – and schools have limited space and resources. Without a centralized program support is harder to provide and there is less of it. Further, RMWB simply can’t attract enough support professionals, because there isn’t a cohesive program and they don’t want to work out of the backs of their cars. That’s why, in the wake of the RMWB fire, parents, community leaders and professionals came together. They formed a More Than Just Bricks to raise awareness about the lack of capacity in RMWB.