Construction to begin on new respite home for children
Parents of children living with disabilities in Montreal will soon get some much needed help.
A new respite home is being built in Beaconsfield – the only one of its kind in the West Island.
For people like Agnes Furholter, that is welcome news, given how much of her life is dedicated to her 12-year-old son, Tristan.
"My day starts with thinking about autism and ends with thinking about autism," says Furholter.
Since she has two other children, she is constantly balancing and scheduling family activities.
"You can't take [Tristan] to family gatherings like weddings or funerals, so you end up being more and more isolated," she adds.
The new centre should help alleviate some of those sorts of challenges by offering families the chance to have their disabled children cared for overnight – possibly as long as three or four days.
It will be built in a field next to the West Montreal Readaptation Centre which already offers a variety of services to children like Tristan.
"Parents bring their child here and then they work with the therapist on certain skills like play skills communication cognitive," says Martine Beaurivage, director children's services.
However, overnight care is something the area still lacks, and needs.
"There's literally no facility like this in all of the western part of Montreal," says Gary Whittacker, of the WMRC.
Officials say the western part of the city is in urgent need of more resources for parents and their disabled children.
They say there has been a high incidence of people moving to the West Island get services - particularly for autistic children – and that has lead to increasingly long wait times for help.
The new building is expected to cost $1-million, most of which will come from private donors.
Parents like Agnes Furholter are thrilled with the news of the new centre.
"This home makes think of that saying that it takes a village to raise a child," she says.
Construction on the new home begins next week and is due to last until November.