Kathleen Forget with Allison

Kathleen Forget with Allison

Lifeline tossed to local family

Dealing with autistic children now a little easier

  • May. 4, 2011 8:00 p.m.

It was in these pages back in September of 2009 that the plight of the Forget family was publicized.

Kathleen and Trevor were making the best of a difficult situation – with two autistic children, Nathan, 5 and Allison, 3. They were looking at the threat of significant cuts to government funding for their kids’ treatment.

In spite of eloquent and impassioned protests the cuts went through and the children’s productive and therapeutic time at the Queen Alexandra institution in Saanich came to an end.

Options back then for the Forget children were limited because of their need for extensive therapy. Nathan, for example had been diagnosed as severely autistic.

Fast forward a couple of years and the challenges remain. The couple has separated, meaning Kathleen has about double the responsibility and workload, not to mention the worry.

Parenting is a full time pursuit even in the rosiest of scenarios, but these kids of Kathleen’s are truly a handful. Each of them can and will run away at the first opportunity, meaning Kathleen can rarely let her guard down.

Entering the picture now, much to Kathleen’s relief, is Project Lifesaver of Greater Victoria, operating in conjunction with the We Rage We Weep Alzheimer Foundation. With compassion and technology the non-profit foundation has fitted both kids with transmitting bracelets, the same type so effectively used by families for Alzheimer’s patients, those likely to wander away from a safe environment.

It’s a proven process that offers some amount of peace of mind to folks in need.

Kathleen says the average time in locating a person with a bracelet is 30 minutes. The response time, ideally, will improve here in the Sooke area if and as the program becomes established and the appropriately qualified personnel become acquainted with it.

For example, as it is now, if Nathan or Allison goes missing, someone from Project Lifesaver would need to come out from Victoria to start the electronic search which would add to a police effort already underway.

“Nathan has run away five times this month,” said Kathleen on April 27.

The bracelets, as Kathleen pointed out, won’t stop a kid from running away, drowning or running in front of traffic, but they will offer some level of reassurance even in worst-case scenarios. She referred to the case of a young autistic boy in Quebec who had vanished in the past several weeks while playing with his sister dangerously close to a rushing river. The boy had apparently still not been found long after the possibility of his survival had been ruled out.

“These mean instead of kids getting lost, going missing overnight, they will be found,” stressed Kathleen.

These are early days for the local application of the service. As mentioned, and emphasized by Dr. Marjorie Moulton, Executive Director of the We Rage We Weep Alzheimer Foundation, only the most reliable, most qualified local personnel available will be sought for partnering in the service.

Dr. Moulton explained that there are up-front and monthly fees that can be payable, but that they may be waived “in circumstances where finances are a challenge.”

She went on to declare that her foundation, “is only able to fund those clients with dementia who are prone to wandering as our mandate does not extend to children or teens with Autism such as in Kathleen’s case. We have, however, been able to secure some limited assistance through another organization to assist those folks but that funding is quickly being used up and there is a great need for a group or organization to step up and make more funding available.”

Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen was contacted for comment and said it was felt Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue (JDFSAR) was the most appropriate agency and he had already referred an interested party to it.

Phil Meikle of the JDFSAR said that although he had yet to hear from someone about the Lifesaver Project, he felt the plan had definite merit.

“The idea sounds great,” said Meikle, “absolutely. If it’s worked for one it’ll work for others, and it would sure make the chance of (quickly locating) these individuals much greater.”

 

news@sookenewsmirror.com

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Victoria police responded to a vehicle where this dog was found in distress due to the heat after being left inside. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Hot cars can be fatal to dogs left inside, Victoria police reminds public after distress calls

Victoria police found two dogs in a car with an internal temperature of 47 C on Friday

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

Tagen Marshall of Parksville is looking to raise funds for a new specialized van. (Submitted photo)
Wolf: Parksville’s Tagen Marshall inspires others, aims to invest in himself

VIU honour student with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy seeks help achieving big dreams

Most Read