‘It made me want to do more in Fort McMurray, but because we were so well set up, it was hard to come back’
By Travis McEwan, CBC News
Kristi Mardell got the keys this week for an office where Fort McMurray’s autism society will soon set up shop, good news that came five months after she and other members fled the wildfire with their children.
Many society members went to Red Deer or Edmonton in the days after the wildfire. The forced evacuation was especially stressful for autistic children, who need specific help and programs most children don’t require.
A handful of society members haven’t returned since the city reopened in June, because the supports and classes for their children were better than those provided in Fort McMurray.
“We evacuated to Red Deer and we were well setup there, and the services we got kicked in right away,” said Mardell, president of autism society in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. “Our kids had support in school right way. It was amazing how fast and supportive the other communities were compared to Fort McMurray.
“It made me want to do more in Fort McMurray. But because we were so well set up, it was hard to come back.”
Autism Canada has released a useful language and communication guide to help media, organizations and the general public use words appropriately when talking about autism. It’s a short and informative read, and you can check it out here.