The long wait times and many wait lists in pediatric health centers across Canada, and the challenges in navigating the healthcare, education and social services systems for children and their family are the main reasons why Buds in Bloom© was founded in 2009 under the name Mission for Immediate Intervention and Access for children (MIIA). To streamline our efforts, the name was changed from MIIA to Buds in Bloom© in 2011, and the mandate changed to build community capacity in 2015.
To get support, parents inevitably turn to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, school boards or city departments for services in sports and recreation, far too often having to wait or having to jump through hoops to navigate the system. In fact, some parents report that they waited four years before their child received support services in health care, education, social services, or leisure and recreation. Children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continue to face particularly long wait times in some provinces in Canada. A common experience reported by parents across Canada is that of challenges with navigating the system to access support services.
These circumstances cause very high stress levels in parents. In fact, according to research studies, there is evidence that parents with a child with ASD show a significantly higher level of stress compared to parents of children with another disability or other special needs than autism. Parental stress is part of parenting, so when a disability in their child is added to the mix, stress is generally increased. In addition, the costs incurred to provide these children health care, education, social services, sports and recreation services represent billions of dollars for the government and society. Simply put, these dollars could be saved, invested and multiplied with a simple shift in health care. Indeed, the cost of support services could be significantly reduced by first admitting our societal responsibility and contributing to a collective multi-tier community-organizational-policy effort to provide parents and families with the tools and support to help their child and them bloom today, with relief, hope and empowerment.