Lack of resources for children with autism causing parents stress
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents of children with disabilities say they are struggling to find adequate resources, such as daycare and therapy for their children across the state.
Jamie Carter is a parent of a 5-year-old with borderline autism. She says her son has not had the therapy he has been prescribed since November due to a lack of available resources and short staffing of certified therapists. She says he switched therapists four times within six months because they will quit.
She says she is had trouble finding a daycare that will take her son because he is not potty-trained, regardless of his disability.
“It’s just been frustrating finding daycare, finding ABA therapy, because he’ll start with a therapist, they quit,” Carter said. “He went through four therapists in six months because they would turn over. So, the agencies aren’t able to keep people employed. You know, just consistency.”
Carter says the company she has been with consistently to support her son is discontinuing its services for autistic children next month. They had been providing help with learning and applied behavior analysis therapy. Now she says she does not know what to do.
“By the grace of God, I do set my own schedule,” Carter said. “So, I’m thinking about the poor mom who has to go work at a dentist’s office or wherever that doesn’t have that luxury. What is she doing with her kid? You know, because daycares aren’t going to take them.”
Able S.C. is a disability-run and led organization that helps foster inclusion in communities by providing adequate resources for people with disabilities across the state.
Mary Alex Kopp, director of public relations and special events for Able S.C., says this sort of issue comes from a lack of funding and not having enough people certified to work with these kids.
“Funding, funding, funding,” Kopp said. “Lack of adequate funding is the reason why things slow down, why they don’t move quickly. And when we have more adequate and appropriate funding, people have better access to two services, and that includes people with disabilities seeking those particular services.”
Kopp says a disability is not something to fix because there is nothing wrong with the person. She says parents just need to find their child the right place for guidance.
“Parents should feel that they have the right to seek the same resources as parents of children who do not have disabilities,” Kopp said. “And that’s kind of our main thing here at Able is while like certainly seeking very specified services that you need, that your child needs for their disability, it’s just as important to ensure that you were seeking services for your child to participate in that don’t necessarily, that aren’t necessarily disability exclusive.”
Able S.C. says Family Connection of South Carolina, South Carolina Partnerships for Inclusion, Federation of Families and the United Way 211 number are great resources for parents to contact if they need help for a child with disabilities. They can help with services from early intervention to parenting.
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