The parents of a 14-year-old Nova Scotia boy who was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition of autism have said he could be the “first person in the world” to become a stay at home mom.
“I never had a clue I would be able to do this,” said Sarah and Eric Ouellette, whose daughter Connor is one of three siblings from their first marriage.
“He’s always been a great kid.
He always had his smile on his face.”
It’s been three years since the couple welcomed their youngest child to their home, but the family’s anxieties about the future have not eased.
“It’s very stressful.
It’s very scary,” said their son, Connor.
“We’re hoping he’s going to have a great life.”
The family had hoped that their first child would be the first person in Canada to be diagnosed with autism.
The family said the boy’s autism is one in the thousands among children with a severe form of the disorder.
The diagnosis has raised questions about whether the world’s newest generation of parents is the right fit for the children they’ve raised.
“The reality is that the world is going to grow bigger and more diverse as people get older and have more opportunities for success,” said Michael Hsieh, the president and CEO of the Canadian Autism Society.
“And it’s not just kids with autism that are at risk.”
In the United States, a total of 531,000 children with autism spectrum disorders have been diagnosed, according to the latest U.S. data.
A number of studies have shown that the average age of an autistic child with autism is about 6.4 years old.
Hsieh said that the vast majority of children with the condition are being raised in the same homes, with some in private homes.
“If you can find a home where you’re going to be the best possible parent for your child, you should do that,” he said.
The Ouelles said that while they are thrilled with the future of Connor, they’re not sure where his future will be.
“We’re excited that he’s now a happy and healthy 14-week-old, but we don’t know where he’s actually going to end up,” said the Ouelletts.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and a lot more work to do.”
The Ouelles have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover Connor’s costs.