09/01/2013 09:25 EDT | Updated 11/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Mission Mom Pleads For Better Education For Autistic Son


The mother of an autistic Mission boy is appealing to the province to help cover the steep costs of sending her son to a school that specializes in teaching children with behavioural issues.

Jaxon Welch, 13, is a high-functioning autistic who has violent outbursts. He’s been sent home dozens of times from his current school, Mission Secondary.

This year, however, Jaxon was accepted to Glen Eden Multimodal Centre, a private school with a specific mandate to help young people with autism and other behavioural issues learn in a positive and supportive environment.

The problem, however, is that tuition at Glen Eden costs upwards of $40,000 annually.

Kari-Lee Welch, Jaxon’s mother, a single working mom without the means to cover attendance costs, says her son has been left behind by the public school system and that his future hinges on going to a school like Glen Eden.

“He’s not an animal. He’s a human being, he is smart and he can do things if he gets the right support,” Welch says.

The province will cover up to $18,000 in tuition fees, leaving an additional $23,000 to be payed by Welch.

Bhavana Vishnubhotla, director of applied research at the Glen Eden Multimodal Centre, says the school used to receive a large grant that allowed them to subsidize families in extreme cases.

“That funding has been cut over the last few years and we no longer have that grant. That makes it hard for families to receive subsidies,” he says.

Welch has not given hope that she’ll find some way to allow Jaxon to attend.

Classes at Glen Eden start on Wednesday.

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