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Motivational, Patreon, The Monday Blog

The Monday Blog – A roller coaster of a week!

 November 9, 2020

By  Lorhainne Eckhart

To say this has been an exciting, fast-paced week where everything seems to be happening at once is an understatement. It seems as if everything has taken off, much like riding an out-of-control roller coaster. For me, this past week has been one of the craziest and busiest in a long time, from The Third Call landing on the bestseller list, hitting #1 on Amazon, Apple, and Kobo in mysteries, thrillers, and romantic suspense, to feeling that unsettledness spreading around the world, from COVID spikes to elections. Then I met someone and learned she had just found out that her only child, her first child, has autism, and she had been navigating an unfriendly system since getting the diagnosis. That lost feeling, the unknowns, the question of “What the hell do we do now?”—all are things I remember too well.

To say this has been an exciting, fast-paced week where everything seems to be happening at once is an understatement. It seems as if everything has taken off, much like riding an out-of-control roller coaster. For me, this past week has been one of the craziest and busiest in a long time, from The Third Call landing on the bestseller list, hitting #1 on Amazon, Apple, and Kobo in mysteries, thrillers, and romantic suspense, to feeling that unsettledness spreading around the world, from COVID spikes to elections. Then I met someone and learned she had just found out that her only child, her first child, has autism, and she had been navigating an unfriendly system since getting the diagnosis. That lost feeling, the unknowns, the question of “What the hell do we do now?”—all are things I remember too well.

Being in a pandemic can make getting a difficult diagnosis that much more difficult. I remember wondering where I could start, the question just about every parent asks. It’s that feeling of being overwhelmed, of wondering where to go and what to do, looking for any answers. I still remember the day someone passed on the contact information of a mother with an autistic child who was part of a parents’ group successfully navigating that unfriendly system. The moment is burned forever in my memory. I remember the color of the Post-it, purple, with a name and phone number. I remember where I was standing, in the doorway, when she handed me the note, and the words she said and the way she said them: “Call her. She can help.”

We all have moments we remember so vividly because of the meaning in them and the emotion behind them. That mother was a lifeline for me. When I called her, even though she was driving and was busy with her own autistic child, she ran through a list off the top of her head of what I needed to do to get started and how I could get my son diagnosed. She told me about the long waitlists for a publicly funded diagnosis, then explained where I could go to get it done privately and how much that would cost. She told me where to look to get funding, how to note those expenses on my taxes, why it’s important to start early intervention even before securing a diagnosis, and much more.

Going back to the beginning of that time is not something I’d want to do, but I cut a path, as did others before me. What many don’t know is that this path is paved by parents, mothers, not by professionals or services or governments. Parents just starting out can easily get stuck in the trap of relying on lists of services provided by government agencies. I’m reminded of a warning one parent gave me: There are a lot of people out there waiting to take your money, and many of them have government contracts. She said to me that if someone is affiliated with the government, you want to walk the other way.

This warning came from a member of a group of parents who sued the BC government and fought a lengthy court battle for six years, all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, just to secure basic, medically necessary intervention and funding for their kids. Their fight resulted in funding for all of us, but was it enough? No. Although it was something, it fell way short. When the government offers funding, everyone suddenly hangs out a shingle to say they’re qualified and get on that coveted government list that desperate families looking for medical professionals rely on, all because the government requirements are skewed.

The first consultant I hired was the only one available, which should have been a warning—but remember, when you’re first starting out, you basically have no idea what you’re doing and what to look for, even with a roadmap from other parents. After a year of very little progress, with me paying him a ton of money and everything I had, he up and left the province with all my money and didn’t provide the services I had paid in advance for. Did I have any recourse? No. I saw several lawyers only to discover the problem with the entire system. Buyer beware! Taking him to court to sue would cost me money I didn’t have, and because he was no longer in the province, BC courts had no jurisdiction. Even if, by some miracle, I had found the money to take legal action, collecting would have been virtually impossible. Was it a lesson? Absolutely.

After two other consultants who didn’t work out, I sat down with other parents and got a list of names of the top dogs in the industry. I called and emailed hundreds of times and managed to secure a spot on a waitlist for one very experienced and qualified behavioral consultant in the US. A spot opened up nearly a year later, and what happened when I hired someone who had the kind of skill that was needed to help my kid? Progress, real progress that could be measured and seen. Even though the cost brought me many sleepless nights and questions of how the hell I would afford it, from the hourly rate to the travel costs and all kinds of incidentals, I realized that in the long term, the bill for someone who really knew what needed to be done would be much lower than what I would end up paying someone cheaper.

Now, that other autism behavioral consultant, where is he now? Unfortunately, he’s still in business in another town across a different border. My story is shared by many parents. One of the biggest problems is a lack of qualified behavioral consultants who have the skills to do it right. Many don’t realize that the special needs community is filled with people ready to take the money of a desperate parent. All kinds of quacks come crawling out of the woodwork, hawking natural methods with miraculous marketing schemes, encouraging parents to buy expensive products based on unpublished evidence, and you’re supposed to just trust them. Is there a watchdog anywhere that protects parents from this kind of fleecing? No. Profiting off the backs of special needs children is unfortunately not seen as a crime.

The only protection you have is other parents who have been through it. So talk to parents who have navigated the system, learn from them, and remember that the special needs community relies on parents looking after other parents.


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When dispatcher Charlotte Roy passes along a call to bad-boy deputy Marcus O’Connell, they learn a six-year-old child is in danger. Can they save the girl from a desperate situation?

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Recent Releases

Catch up with The O’Connells with these latest additions to my romantic suspense series!  Follow Iris, Owen, Marcus, Brady and the entire clan in these full-length novels and special boxed set.  Available at all eRetailers.

AND THEN SHE WAS GONE (Book 12)
THE O’CONNELLS, BOOKS 7-9 BOXED SET
THE RETURN OF THE O’CONNELLS (Book 11)


Audiobooks

Click here to see my titles currently available in audiobook!

And did you know… if you already own one of my eBooks on Kindle, you can pick up the audiobook at a reduced price with Whispersync?  Whispersync allows you to both read and listen, and you can even switch back and forth between reading on Kindle and listening on Audible without losing your place.


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