WAVE (Welcome, Accepted, Valued and Equal)

Report: Catch the WAVE, Research Regarding Supports Available for Individuals with a Disability and Their Families

“A Russion painter, deaf since birth, has been refused permanent residency in Canada, because he did not meet the language proficiency requirement when tested verbally, despite getting near perfect scores when tested using sign language”

“All politicians agree more needs to be done to improve [the] autism outlook for Ontario kids – but where is that plan? [Three] years ago Children’s Services Minister Laurel Broten stood on stage and promised 25 million a year to place more autistic children into therapy…The crowd buzzed with hope. Broten also promised a committee of experts…It never formed.”

“Amanda Telford probably felt as though she was abandoning her son when she dropped him off at the Ontario government office in Ottawa on Wednesday [May 2013] Telford and her husband say they were sick over the decision, but they were no longer able to care for there severely autistic 19 tear old son, Phillippe, who also suffers from Tourette Syndrome and insulin -dependent diabetes.”

“Canadians with disabilities are twice as likely to be living in poverty as people who do not have disabilities (20.3%-10.7%, respectively)..In Ontario the low-income rates are 18.3 and 10.3 for people with and without disabilities, respectively.”

Do we as Ontarians, welcome, accept, value and treat every individual equally? The above quotes from articles and reports show us that there are gaps in our attitude to those living with one or more disabilities. The Catch the Wave Report sought to discover, what services were provided, how easily accessible they were and whether those living with disabilities believed they were adequately assisted.

We endeavoured to compile a manual for our affiliate member groups which they could use to assist anyone locally needing to be connected with government of other assistance. We also found that there were many simples services needed by individuals that could be provided by caring churches or individuals. Many of the services looked wonderful on paper but actually accessing them through the red tape and requirements made them impossible.

We are meant to be “our brother’s keeper” and this report carries a challenge to the government to uphold a person’s dignity in assessing needs for services and to take the responsibilty and honour of providing them more seriously. It also challenges the church community and people of good will to step into “the gap” and assist persons with disability when they request it – to live independent lives as they are able.