Seek advice from people with experience.
Other parents can provide ideas that could help guide you through the school system, even if their child’s issues are different than yours. Community and government organizations can provide contacts to parents and information about support services and educational policies. Some organizations you may wish to contact include:
- BC Federation of Parent Advisory Councils 604-687-4433 www.bccpac.bc.ca A non-profit organization that advocates for the best possible education for all children in BC, through the active involvement of parents.
- Learning Disabilities Association 604-873-8139 www.ldabc.ca/
Provides programs and services including tutoring, advocacy, and education about learning disabilities.
- Family Support Institute 604-540-8374 www.familysupportbc.com
Provides parent-to-parent support and advocacy for families of people with disabilities, as well as resources, information, and workshops.
- BC Association for Community Living 604-777-9100 www.bcacl.org For all individuals with developmental disabilities. Some nice resources and links to Transitions and Inclusive Education.
- Community Living BC 604-664-0101 www.communitylivingbc.ca
Delivers support and services to ELIGIBLE individuals with developmental disabilties and their families. This includes transition planning to adult service in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Good FAQs on eligibility and programs and services for adults with developmental disabilities.
- Ministry of Children and Family Development 250-952-6044 www.gov.bc.ca/mcf/
Services include a range of child, youth, and family focused support programs and interventions to help promote. All are eligibility tested.
- Federation of Independent School Associations 604-684-6023 www.fisabc.ca
An umbrella organization for independent schools in BC. Acts as a liaison between the schools, government, and other educational institutions.
Are you being forced to switch your Autism Funding to the Invoice method? Being audited by the Autism Unit and have been told you owe them money? Don’t be discouraged in dealing with this or other government agencies such as Housing & Social Development or Canada Revenue Agency- you CAN come out on top. Here are a few simple methods I have used with great results:
– When calling the department to discuss your file always be polite.
– Request and write down the name of the person you’re talking with.
– If you disagree, ask to speak to the supervisor (write down their name too!).
– Ask for information about their appeal process (almost ALL decisions can be reviewed!)
– If you are still unsatisfied, contact your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA):
…and ask for an appointment to discuss your problem.
– Contact the BC Coalition for Persons with Disabilities:
Advocacy Access Program
Phone 604-872-1278; Toll Free 1-800-663-1278
- DON’T GIVE UP! BACI has an advocacy committee and family support groups that may be able to help you!
Self-advocacy can be time-consuming and frustrating at times. But from personal experience, I can assure you that if you are firm and ask for help from your community you can cut through red tape!
One way to get service is to advocate within the political realm. For instance, in British Columbia we have a crisis because of the vast numbers of people who are waiting for service either through MCFD or CLBC. This has been going on for a long time now and it seems that the Government just does not care.
So, from time to time, I take the trouble to write the Premier a letter. I try to keep it short and to the point and use information that helps my argument. I also cc my MLA and the Leader of the Opposition. See below my most recent letter as an example. Please join me in writing to the premier on the issue of waitlists. Including your personal story and the impact on your family helps get the message across.
November 15, 2008
Honorable Gordon Campbell
Premier of British Columbia
PO Box 9041
STN PROV GOVT
Dear Premier Campbell,
I have two adult children with intellectual disabilities and I am writing to express my deep concern about the lack of funding for people with intellectual disabilities in British Columbia. I know that approximately 2500+ families are on waitlists for service through Community Living British Columbia or the Ministry of Child and Family Development. I have heard that approximately $60 million is required to alleviate the waitlists in CLBC (how much is needed in MCFD is unknown). This represents less than a 10% increase of the overall CLBC budget.
The BC Liberal Government has projected a budget surplus of $800 million in 2009. The badly needed $60 million to reduce waitlists represents only 7% of the projected budget surplus. I hasten to add that $60 million represents .15% of the overall 2009 government budget. Even if there is not a budget surplus it is clear to me that British Columbia can afford to properly fund people with disabilities. You just choose not to.
Saskatchewan just made that choice. They have just announced that they are investing $76 million into supporting people with disabilities. It is hard not to appreciate that kind of leadership and caring for the most vulnerable in our communities. In tough times, it is even more important to ensure that people are protected and supported. To do otherwise is simply mean-spirited. I would also like to remind you that people who are supported to one day become independent will save society money in the long run. Moreover, when families break apart because they cannot cope it clearly increases costs for the Government because it takes significantly more funding to take a person into care rather than support a family to care for their own.
I cannot support a Government that clearly prioritizes non-essentials (Olympics, bridges, executive salaries) over the real needs of people in our communities. People and families are struggling and need your help. I strongly urge you to fully fund MCFD and CLBC in the next budget.
Cc Diane Thorne – MLA Coquitlam/Maillardville
Cc Carol James – Leader of the Opposition
The Giving in Action Society, supported by the Vancouver Foundation, provides grants to families living in BC through two funds – the Family Independence Fund (FIF) and the Children and Youth with Special Needs Fund (CYSN). These grants enable families to stay together by addressing accessibility issues in their home and community.
For more information go to www.givinginaction.ca or call 604-683-3157.
Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) should be contacted regarding service for adults with a developmental disability and for children with developmental disabilities who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or are part of the At Home Program.
The Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) should be contacted if your child has any other type of developmental disability.