Family wants better care for autistic son

Protesters intent on seeing two autistic men get a better level of support will remain outside the downtown Community Living B.C. office until their case is heard.

"We aren't going anywhere," Anita White said Sunday.

White, her son, Brandon, 24, and his roommate, Justin Roath, 23, were camped outside the Lansdowne Street office early Sunday morning.

Brandon has oppositional defiant disorder and can be quite aggressive, said White. So much so that he can no longer live with White and his autistic sister.

Community Living paired Brandon and Roath as roommates. The men received the standard two hours of home care a day, she said. They also became fast friends.

"Brandon is like a brother to me. I've never had a sibling," said Roath.

A problem with the tenants upstairs forced her son and Roath to move, said White. The tenants played loud music and she is convinced drugs were involved.

"It wasn't healthy or safe," she said.

A new home has been found for Roath but he and Brandon would like to stay roommates. White said living with Roath helped pull her son out of his shell.

"My son has never had a friend in his life," she said.

The problem is Roath can't be a caregiver for Brandon. White would like to see them put into a home share program together so they can receive an increased level of care. She said Community Living is either unable or unwilling to accommodate.

She said a representative from Community Living was supposed to meet with her sometime Sunday. That meeting hadn't taken place as of late afternoon.

While White said an offer was made to shelter her son for the night by ASK Wellness, her point was not to simply find him housing for a night and planned to continue the protest.

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