Their 9-year old son, Anson, is profoundly autistic. He's a sweet boy who goes to school and participates in after-school programs for special needs children. Like most autistic children, his social awareness and interactions are limited. His parents have taken measures to make sure their home is a safe environment for him, his diet is carefully monitored, etc. Alberta has the best programs in Canada for children with autism and Rob and Cindy are very involved in his care.
Yesterday he went missing from home. He had been in the fenced back yard but managed to work his way under the fence and went exploring. They searched their neighbourhood for him and were close to panicking after almost an hour, when they got a call from one of Anson's care workers with the Robin Hood Society. She was driving home and happened to spot him over a kilometer from his home on a busy city street. She approached him and he said, "Hi to Carla. Anson want to go home." He was in his bare feet and had his t-shirt on inside-out, as he often does when he dresses himself. Carla called the Society to get Rob's phone number and address, then phoned Rob and brought Anson home. He wasn't hurt or upset, just tired. What a relief for his parents though.
Rob was out today buying more locks for their doors and securing the back yard. Anson doesn't mean to worry his parents, he wants to explore his world and doesn't understand that he has to always let his parents and care givers know where he is and what he is doing. Raising an autistic child is a real challenge. I admire Rob and Cindy and all they've been doing and continue to do to make Anson's life as normal as possible.
Cindy explained the Robin Hood Society this way: "Robin Hood is the association that works with the special needs community in Sherwood Park. They do camp, after/before care, respite, intervention programs, etc. for kids and a whole bunch of other stuff for adults. They are pretty much awesome!"
|Anson (#10) on the trampoline with Aunt Amy, sister Brooklyn and cousin Sydney|