Thursday, August 11, 2011

Letter to the Editor - a guest post/re-post/response post

Last month, I joined in with the #BlogforAyn bloghop, telling the tale of the 9 year old autistic girl who has been removed from her home in BC, seemingly for no reason other than being an autistic child being raised by a single dad. The case workers stated that raising three children with two being autistic is a heavy load for a single parent, and that removing his daughter would lighten his load. One of our readers made the statement, there must be more to the story than that. That's exactly where I was when I first heard the tale. Like a lot of people who work with children I've (unfortunately) seen a lot. When you start to see repeating patterns of hurt, mistreated and abused children you tend to get cynical. And I'm sure that's where a lot of CPS worker are at. They see the worst of the worst. They work in a flawed system where there can be errors that lead to tragedy if they don't have enough information to go on to protect our kids. It can also happen in reverse, where a family can be broken up without a lot of recourse. Since I first heard about Derek Hoare's story with his daughter Ayn, I started to read about more families who have been torn apart unnecessarily. It is now 55 days since Ayn was removed from her home. Her father has yet to have access to her. Meetings have been cancelled at the last minute, frustrating this father who just wants his little girl back home where she belongs.
I'm fortunate that a good friend of mine (who initially made me aware of this case) has met Derek. She was touched by his story and has made it her mission to find out how this happened and what can be done to help this family. She has given me permission to quote her here on Clever Mamas. In her own words: "I have a copy of the hospital records, and I have met Derek, been in his home, and seen how he and his ex interact with their children. He is totally above the board, and doing a much better job than I think I could do."
My friend is a mother herself of two little ones. She is a qualified teacher who oversees homeschooling families in her area. She is a well educated, caring individual. I know for me, hearing a story in the news can cause a lot of questions and disbelief. Knowing someone whose opinion I trust completely being involved in the story in question sways my opinion of what is going on here.
My dear friend wrote a blog post that was originally published last month in her sister's parenting blog "I'm a Real Life Mom - Perfecting Imperfection". With her permission, I am re-posting it here. She captures better than anyone else I know the reality of Ayn's situation.

July 14, 2011

It’s the 29th day of torture. And she’s only 9. Is she in North Korea, Rwanda or Nazi Germany? No. She is in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Has she been kidnapped? No. She was “legally” apprehended by the Minisry of Children and Family Development. Imagine if you will:

School is almost over. She is tired. The lights, the smells, the flashes of color, the noise. It is all overwhelming to a child with autism. She is looking forward to going home to her Daddy. She knows he will hold her and help her recover from her day. She knows what to expect at home. There is routine, boundaries, safety.

Strangers suddenly appear before her. They are saying lots of things. She doesn’t understand them. They are touching her. She hates being touched. They tell her to follow them. She doesn’t want to. She doesn’t know them. They pull on her arm. She fights. She cannot understand what is happening. There are 4 strangers. And two of the people from school that usually help her. They force her into an unfamiliar vehicle. She starts to cry for her Daddy. She doesn’t stop.

They have her by both arms, it hurts. They drag her into a hospital room. It is cold, bright. The smells are strange and overwhelming. The lights overhead hum incessantly. She is still crying, and tired. She lays down on the bed, but the sheets smell funny, and they’re scratchy. Someone comes in. She wants out. She wants her Daddy. So she kicks and bites and screams. Rough hands hold her down. She feels a sudden sharp pain in her arm. She feels strange suddenly. The lights spin. Her head feels funny. Her tummy hurts. She is weak. They lay her down, but she cannot sleep. She is too sad.

Days pass. People come and go. Each time she cries and screams and fights to be with her Daddy. They keep touching her, poking and probing. She hates it so she fights. Over and over, the stabbing pain in her arm and then the funny feelings. She is lonely. The food tastes yucky. They say they need her blood. But she sees the needle and knows the pain, so she fights each time they try. In this she succeeds; they don’t get her blood from her. They don’t give her her favourite things. She misses her brothers, her clothes, her toys, her room, her special blankie and teddy. She cannot sleep without them. The constant noises, the voices, the beeping. It makes her scream. She asks for Daddy. No one will tell her where he is. She’s cold at night. The blankets feel funny. Why are they doing this to her? Her name is Ayn Van Dyk.

Why indeed? The reason her father, Derek Hoare, has been given is that her behaviours are too severe, that he must be overwhelmed, that he needs to have his load “lightened.” This story is very close to what an innocent little girl is experiencing. Much of it has been taken from hospital discharge papers her father was given. In those records, they state unequivocally that there is absolutely no evidence of any neglect or abuse. In the records it states that she is being given 2 dangerous drugs. Drugs that require a family history before being given. Drugs with severe side effects. The records state concern that she is being given double the maximum recommended dose. Her parents are adamantly opposed to her being medicated.

Can this be happening in my country? Didn’t we fight a war and sacrifice millions of lives to stop tyranny like this? How does the MCFD suddenly have Gestapo-like power? They are performing experiments on a child who functioned normally in the home. At school, yes, she had great difficulty. But for a child with autism, school is a very overwhelmingly difficult place to try to cope. Ayn is a bright little girl. At school she was working 2 years above her grade level. Surely she herself knows that what is happening to her is wrong.

Evil prevails when good people do nothing. I would challenge you, that as a public figure, if you stand by while this happens, you are condoning it. There must be investigations into this at local, provincial, national and international levels.

This cannot be swept under the carpet. The supporters of Ayn Van Dyk and her family will not stop fighting until policy changes are made and disciplinary action is taken against those who have been responsible for this.
In defense of Ayn,

Sherilyn Klassen

You can help make a difference in this case. Please visit and sign the petition there to bring this child home.

You can also visit the Facebook page for more updated information and ways to help out.!/groups/152278868178942?ap=1 and
to donate towards the cause.

You can also repost these links, tweet and facebook this blog and spread the word yourselves.

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