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Johannah Maynard Edwards
A new American study has confirmed what every autism family has heard anecdotally: Accidental death by drowning is a significant risk for kids with autism. Researchers at the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University looked at more than 39 million death records over a 16-year period (up to 2014) to determine the relationship between autism and death by injury.
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Many organizations and affected families across the country have been calling for a national autism strategy. The wide range in disparity of publicly funded services for autism across the country has even generated a kind of "medical migration" with several published accounts of families leaving their home provinces (most commonly, Atlantic provinces, Ontario and Quebec) to move to Alberta or British Columbia where autism services are more readily available and/or more flexible. It is also no longer uncommon to find Canadian families using crowdsourcing campaigns to fund their children's autism and related therapies.
It was an ordinary summer day. People were milling on the main thoroughfare, bikes zig-zagging through traffic, cafés and pubs spilling onto the sidewalk, patrons sipping their way through a lazy Friday afternoon. We were ordinary that day too. Just another family, managing the hectic jumble of kids' lessons, bills, our careers, endless streams of birthday parties, too little sleep and the occasional date night out. But it was all shattered with a single word: autism.
My daughter Charlotte's unique way of thinking about life has made me realize that not everyone sees things the way you expect them to, and that has opened me up to a much richer perspective in my management responsibilities. As a local general manager with public relations agency Hill+Knowlton Strategies, I have some employees who, like Charlotte, don't always follow the rules. I love working with these people, but it isn't always intuitive.