So it's come to this. Autistic children on any part of the spectrum being taken in by certain daycare centers here in Trumbull County. As the parent of an autistic child I can tell you I was upset and angry. However, I have learned over the years that anger gets you no where but action does.
I have been holding fundraisers for The Rich Center for Autism for the past five years called The Art of Autism. Between the parents and concerned patrons, we raise a good amount to help them out. This school has satellite classes in other parts of Mahoning and Columbiana counties, but not Trumbull. Why? This school does not function off of levies from the taxpayers if that is what people are concerned about. They operate on scholarships, fundraisers and donations. We need to bring a satellite of this school here to Trumbull County.
We need educated qualified individuals to care and school these children. So I am calling you out, Trumbull County. Start asking questions why this type of school is not here where we live, but rather in our back yard of Youngstown. Most parents of autistic children like myself aren't looking for a free way out because most of our care funds come out of our own pockets. In fact, it feels like we are being punished for being responsible parents, being told we do not qualify for Social Security or other waivers because we have jobs or buy insurance for our children's future care.
People are calling for the closing of this daycare facility or suing them. Then what? It will happen again somewhere else here. It's easy to shrug your shoulders and just say, ''what a shame" and go on with your life. What if this were your child? Would you keep quiet or just wait until the hype from the media dies down?
People need to get involved and ask our local officials if there was ever any consideration of bringing an extension of this facility here, so that parents will have the option of qualified care for their autistic children. Having your child diagnosed with autism can be the scariest thing in the world for a parent. It is usually followed up by a whirlwind of confusion and dismay. Let's get our focus together and do what is right for something that is very much needed.
Mauro A. DiVieste