I shared this to my Facebook page a year ago. Thankfully Charlie is doing much better, thanks to ABA and Medication. However I still feel that this is still a relevant concern for many in our State and our community.
Yesterday in a feeble attempt to prepare myself for Charlie’s Psychiatrist appointment I called River Oaks Mental Hospital thinking that we could do a short term inpatient close to home private institution to help my 6-year-old son with Autism get the help he so desperately needs. I was told when I called that they no longer accept children with Autism because they cannot staff enough people to handle the one to one ratio necessary for the violent behaviors. Let that sink in.
I was calling, as a parent of three sons with Autism. I am their primary caregiver. My Husband works 10 days straight and that is for 20 days of the month. And this facility was telling me they would not take him because they must have a one to one ratio to handle him. I have been on the wait list for four ABA therapy places for months trying to get my son support, I have a lawyer working with me to allow it in the school which is currently fighting me to let him have the support he so desperately needs. We have tried 5 different medications in as many months. He is in speech and we are trying Occupational Therapy again. I have been fighting to get Charlie supports since he was 9 months old and every step of the way it has been a battle, but yesterday really took the cake. Being told by a private institution that it takes a one to one ratio to handle a child like mine and that is why they no longer take children like him infuriated me. How am I supposed to help him? At the Psychiatrist office yesterday, she told me of an institution in Texas that specializes in children like Charlie. In Texas, this is the best option? What about my other sons with Autism? And this isn’t for a weekend, this is for months. I’m supposed to ship my 6-year-old off for months. This is all because the state of Louisiana is so far behind on mental health care it is insane. I do not want you pity, I want your anger. I want you to be angry that there aren’t more supports in place for my son. Angry that my child is suffering so much that he puts holes in the wall. Angry that this is the best the State of Louisiana has for our Special needs community. I am pissed off that my son does not have better access to care. I am furious that I literally spend 80 percent of my day fighting to get services or care for one of my son’s.