Jurors at the coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Angie and Robert Robinson heard about the lack of services for autistic children in the region Monday.
Angie struggled to care for her severely autistic son who was becoming increasingly aggressive and physically over powering. The inquest wad told the situation was Angie was particularly hard because of Robert’s aggressiveness.
Solomon Garcia, Robert’s care worker, told jurors he knows of one organization that provides care for autistic children, but Robert would have been quickly removed from the program due to safety concerns.
Jennifer Rice, NDP MLA for North Coast says the Ministry of Children and Family Development does not know what the situation is in Prince Rupert, saying Minister Stephanie Cadieux is out of touch.Dr. Jeffrey Simons was Robert’s pediatrician for eight years and he says Robert did well when they lived in Vancouver because he could receive full-time intensive therapy. However, He told the inquest Angie expressed frustration such services were not available in Prince Rupert. He also commented that the level of respite care they received was inadequate given Robert’s severe condition and Angie’s lack of downtime for herself to get any rest.
Rice says autism support is something many families in the region require but do not have access to.
Dr. Simons earlier in his testimony said BC was a leader in autism assessment. He was then asked to describe what would be the ideal long-term care facility be like for Robert.
After he responded, he noted no such facility currently exists anywhere, as a lack of support services is an international issue.
The inquest continues Tuesday.