The beatings will continue until?

On May 3, 2013, Anne Dachel wrote about a similar nightmare (Heartbreaking Story: Adult Son with Autism Left to State) to the story below, also in Canada. Back then it was an Ottawa couple who were unable to care for their adult son with autism who functioned on the level of a two-year-old.  Families from coast to coast, Canada, America and elsewhere, are suffering right now as many children and adult children with autism have been home without supports during COVID.  Most families hide their plight out of love and respect and even fear of making the dark side of autism public. Parents are beaten, siblings cower in fear, families face collapse. This is the side of autism you rarely see or her about. Except at Age of Autism, and we take a drubbing for it. We don't care.....

Here’s the looming pandemic conveniently ignored for the present. Will officials be holding daily updates on the number of young adult descending on the welfare system?

Jul 13, 2020, (Canada) CBC: Winnipeg woman beaten by 16-year-old son with autism says she can no longer care for him

A Winnipeg woman says she's no longer able to care for her 16-year-old son, who has autism, because of his violence toward her.

She wants to surrender guardianship to Winnipeg Child and Family Services — but the agency says he needs to stay with her. 

CBC News is not identifying the woman or her son to protect their privacy. We've given her the pseudonym of Olivia and her son the pseudonym of Noah.

Noah has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and suffers from anxiety. 

"He is strong. He can throw me. That's a bad day, Bruises. Lots of bruises, and just anger.… I think I've lost consciousness one time," Olivia said….

Olivia said there have been numerous instances when she's locked him out of the house and called police after he's beaten her.

Police have been able to calm him down, she says, but in a few days, he'd act violently again. Officers have asked her to file a formal complaint, but she refused.

Noah is nearly six feet tall. He's talented, smart and can come across as a "know-it-all," his mother said. He has been home-schooled all his life. …

Olivia said her son was apprehended by Winnipeg's Family and Child Services last December, when a pediatrician notified CFS after hearing about Noah's violence. 

Noah was placed into the agency's Emergency Placement Resource program — where he was  temporarily housed at shelters and hospitals. But Olivia said on June 15, a court ordered Noah to live with her permanently — a decision she said is not realistic. …

Dr. Jennifer Frain, a clinical psychologist and the executive director of New Directions — an organization dedicated to providing services for people with disabilities — said violence from people with autism results from lacking other means to express themselves.

"Autism is sensory and behavioural. The world is not processed in the same way as for other folks," Frain said. ….

Frain said a long-term solution needs to be put in place for Noah, including a specialized placement, such as a group home, with staff trained to work with people with disabilities. Staff could also work with his mom to ensure they have a healthy and strong relationship. 

Olivia said the court order also asked her to contact Youth Mobile Crisis Services, CFS and police immediately should a physical assault happen. But Olivia said there have been times when her son would prevent her from using her phone, making it impossible to call anyone.

"The violence just keeps escalating. He punches and he kicks. And he's really strong. I can't defend myself, and if I do defend myself, it enrages him more," she said. …

Olivia said since Noah was placed in the Emergency Placement Resource program in December, he ran away from shelters and hospitals about a dozen times. 

Police were called in, and searches were escalated because he's considered a vulnerable person….

The Department of Families said the emergency placement program is only used when it is unsafe for a child to remain where they are residing and no other placement options are available….

Specialized placements lacking 

Frain and Penrose believe a child like Noah should be put into a specialized placement, where he can have access to trained professionals and services.   

"Pivoting toward specialized placements is the most appropriate thing to do when dealing with any type of child with a significantly high need and where their self-regulation can become quite aggressive," Penrose said. …

But specialized placements, which are individually customized, are hard to come by.

"In the CFS system … we don't have a lot of extra resources or extra space," she said. 

"It's oftentimes that I need to develop or define a [placement]," Frain said. "But there's often a waiting list for those kinds of specialized beds, and they're more expensive than a regular foster home." 

Frain said New Directions has opened four homes for children with autism, who were languishing in the shelter system. Those homes remain full today, as the children mature into adulthood. …

She said it's concerning to hear Noah will remain living with his mom, especially when she feels unsafe. 

"When the system is taxed the way it is, perhaps that's the best solution that they understand, but I believe there can be collaborative solutions that don't include leaving it up to the parent who's already in active burnout."

Respite not enough, says mother 

Since June 26, Noah has been staying at his mom's house. She said CFS staff fear that if he was placed at a shelter and ran away, his safety would be jeopardized because of the heat. 

Olivia was granted respite care for four hours a day two weeks ago, but said it doesn't help much.

"I'm exhausted," she said. "I'm old. I can't take this any more." 

She said she's made it clear to CFS she wants to surrender guardianship. 

"I love him dearly. There's nothing I wouldn't do.… I would die for this child if his life could just be made better. But I'm also realistic."


By Adriana Gamondes

Adriana Gamondes is a contributing editor to Age of Autism and one of the blog’s social media adminis

(Source:; July 15, 2020;
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