Autism in Victoria

Autism and Victoria, British Columbia

British Columbia, Canada is one of the best vacation destinations in the world because of its beautiful sceneries and friendly people. Its capital city is Victoria which, obviously, is named after the best Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Victoria is belongs to the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest and has successfully retained a very large number of historic buildings, like the two most popular landmarks in the world, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress hotel. The first one was finished in 1897 and became the home of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia while the latter was opened in the year 1908.

The city of Victoria has been a home for many people now from different countries like the Chinese who are permanently residing there. The city’s Chinatown is regarded as the second oldest in the North America, which is after or next to the Chinatown in San Francisco.

The city of Victoria is not only known for its beautiful heritage and history but it is also known as the “Garden City” because it takes in the many and different flowers that bloom beautifully during winter and early spring which includes the crocuses, cherry, daffodils, plum trees and early-blooming rhododendrons. Surely, it is very attractive and a popular tourism destination. Not only that, it also has a very thriving technology sector that became the City’s largest Revenue-generating private industry.

According to Numbeo, this specific city is in the top 20 of the cities around the world for its high quality of life, it has a large non-local student population who attend the famous and prestigious educational institutions in the Victoria such as the University of Victoria, Royal Roads University, Camosun, Victoria College of Art, Canadian College of Performing Arts and the Sooke Schools International Programme.

One of the best things about this city is that it is a very good place to rest and enjoy for the whole family all year round. For it offers enjoyment with its rugged and beautiful beaches and shorelines. It is also a popular place for retirees who enjoy the temperate and snow-free climate in the whole area and, of course, the easy-going lifestyle or pace of life in Victoria.

The city has a very temperate climate with mild and rainy winters and cool, dry and sunny summers. During the winter season, the average high and low temperatures daily range from 8 and 4 °C while the summer season is relatively mild, with an average daily high temperature of 20 °C and the low temperature is 11 °C , although some inland areas, at times, experience a warmer daytime highs.

One feature of the climate in Victoria is that it has very distinct rainy and dry seasons. During the 4 wettest months if the years, November to February, almost 2/3 of the annual precipitation falls at these months, and the driest month of the year is the month of July.

Victoria is almost a perfect city, with a perfect education system, prestigious schools, best places and a progressive industry and economy. The population here is 80, 017 in 2011 and the Greater Victoria has a population of 344, 615 which is the largest urban area in the Vancouver Island. 6.5 % of the population is more than 80 years old. But, just like any other countries or cities in the world, Victoria has problems too. One of these problems is the growing autism cases in the city, which the rate is higher for the children.

Based on the Findings or researches of the Statistics Canada, the cases or number of people with autism or other developmental disorder was above 69,000 in the year 2003, or is about 1 autism case in every 450 Canadians. The autism rate or cases is a way higher for school children.  According to the Autism Society Canada, the three provinces that have an increase or steep rise in the number of school children with this specific mental disorder with reliable statistics are the Saskatchewan, Quebec and the British Columbia.

The preliminary results of the epidemiological study done at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in 2003-2004 have found out the prevalence rate of 1 child per 147 or a percentage of 0.68%. This prevalence result or rate jives or is consistent with the other recent studies which were done in the United Kingdom and the United States, where the reported rates are around 0.6% or a ratio of 1:167.

What is Autism? It is a life-long developmental disability that hinders or prevents a person from understanding or perceiving what he see, hear and sense. This case results in major and severe problems with communication, social relationships and behavior.

Autism, in other words, is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterized by an impaired social interaction, both in the verbal and non-verbal communication and a restricted and repetitive behavior which are not quite normal. The said signs oftentimes develop gradually, at times; some children with this mental disorder reach their developmental milestones at a very normal pace and then eventually regress. The diagnostic criteria for Autism cases require that symptoms are apparent or become apparent in the early childhood stage, typically before the age of three.

The symptoms of Autism can be present in a wide variety of combinations and sometimes accompany other disabilities. Some may have a normal level of intelligence while most people with this case have a level of intellectual disability which ranges from mild to severe. Almost 50% of the people with autism do not develop their functional speech and for those who do, their speech may have some unusual qualities and might have very limited communicative functions.

The increasing rate of autism cases in the British Columbia is the main reason why the Government of British Columbia developed the provincial Autism Action Plan in 1999. As a major part of this specific plan, the Ministry of Education committed to provide the schools all over the province with major resources on the specific topic of the students with autism.

Now, the British Columbia, especially the city of Victoria, works and are one on giving the autistic students with the special education that can help them learn and live life like what a normal person does.