"People with Autism Spectrum Disorder may be overly dependent on routines, highly sensitive to changes in their environment, or intensely focused on inappropriate items. ... the symptoms of people with ASD will fall on a continuum, with some individuals showing mild symptoms and others having much more severe symptoms"
American Psychiatric Association, Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet
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Mistie Delorey is a single mother currently residing in a property of the Fredericton Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Her son with severe autism will turn 7 two days from now, on July 31, 2014, the day before he and his mother will be forced to leave the premises where they have been living over the past year after receiving an eviction notice from the Fredericton Non-Profit Housing Corporation; the day before Cameron's routines are broken and his environment is changed completely.
The letter of eviction received by Mistie Delorey did not provide a reason for the termination. In fact she was not behind in her rent, there was no property damage in the home in which she and Cameron have resided, there were no assaults, and she was well liked by the neighbors. She is a mother who has been doing a fine job dealing with the challenges of raising a severely autistic son by herself.
Mistie Delorey tried to discuss the recommended, but not mandatory, Tenant’s Insurance with the FNPHC property manager who did not take well to that effort. The volume rose and during this time Mistie’s son Cameron who was present began kicking the wall; one of his severe autism behaviors. Allegations were made against Mistie to the Fredericton City Police by the property manager. The Police also however received Mistie’s side of the story and did not proceed with any charges. Mistie and Cameron are being evicted “without cause” to use legal terminology. No reasons were given in the notice of eviction.
The eviction is likely to cause harm, potentially serious harm, to her severely autistic son. This is not idle, ill informed, speculation. Well informed medical personnel have already indicated that for autistic children generally, and for Cameron in particular, the disruption in his routines, in his life, could have serious repercussions and this has been made known to the Executive and Directors of the Fredericton Non-Profit Housing Corporation. As it now stands Mistie Delorey will be homeless and her son will be taken from her on August 1 the day after his seventh birthday.
Numerous agencies have made their services available to plead on behalf of Mistie and Cameron including MLA Troy Lifford, the New Brunswick Community Living Association, a church elder, a City Councillor, Cameron’s health care specialists and neighbors who wrote letters supporting Mistie and her son Cameron. Several government departments and agencies held discussions with the FNPHC Board. Brief extensions were obtained but the decision to evict stands.
New Brunswick has made many gains in early autism intervention and school services over the past dozen years. With the eviction of Mistie and Cameron Delorey without cause by a Non-Profit agency without regard for the impact on a severely autistic son it has taken a huge step back.