Last week saw a unique opportunity for Katie Emde, of Midale. Emde was invited by NDP Leader Candidate Trent Wotherspoon to sit, in house, during legislation. Although she did not speak, her presence allowed for the much-needed discussion around Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
"He brought me in because he has noticed through social media, using Facebook and within the news, news articles that have been done on our family and all the autism awareness and advocating that we've done that we've started to become a very large voice," says Katie Emde, Autism Advocate.
Emde mentions that experience, at the legislature, was invigorating and interesting. Viewing and government's process and witnessing the important discussions within legislature was very intriguing.
There are serious issues, that families are beginning to be vocal about, surrounding ASD on a provincial and federal level.
"There was a lot of hot topic issues being discussed and we were one of the many," "I'm glad that our voice was heard, that's always the outcome that we want, that when we do something to do with press releases, there is a response."
On the provincial level, many families are struggling when it comes to the resources and the support they need. School divisions and the health system need to ensure they have the staff to address these issues. Using a "blanket fix" for children is not ideal, as what works for one, may not work for others.
Avery, Emde's son, has severe non-verbal autism, and as she advocates for him, she does so for many families throughout the province. Emde's goal is to give a voice to struggling families, that these children are not just a file number.
"The way that on a personal level, the way that my husband and I see it, it's whoever can do the best for our kids, whoever can really advocate and help us advocate, not only for our son but can really see the province as a whole and that the province can come together,"
Emde mentions that every experience is positive when advocating because it get's the message out there. She wants families to know that she and her husband are a resource, that they can help families. It's a large task, but very rewarding and with recognition on a government, level means it will only get better from here.