Thursday, April, 12, 2012 – 11:11:58 AM
Photo by Kaz Novak/Hamilton Spectator
Family appeals to province in bid for residency
A Hamilton father fighting to keep his family in Canada plans to appeal to the province’s education minister after his request for permanent residency was denied by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Sungsoo Kim, 43, has spent the last nine years in Canada with his wife, Sunmi, daughter Bookyung, 17, (Lisa) and son, Taehoon, 12.
Kim first applied for permanent residency in 2006.
In a Jan. 3 letter from CIC, Taehoon’s autism is identified as a barrier to the family’s request for landed immigrant status. Taehoon requires an educational assistant at a cost of $35,000 per year. CIC spokesperson Tracie LeBlanc told the Hamilton Spectator that publicly-funded services are included under an “excessive demand” threshold. Any expense above $6,141 per year can be considered excessive demand.
But Kim, who is facing the expiration of his work permit in July, said Taehoon has already been working with an EA for the past seven years. Kim also points out his son requires no medical care or medication. Taehoon currently attends St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Elementary School.
“I don’t understand what’s the difference before and after,” Kim said, in response to the CIC letter.
Kim is planning to write a letter to Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten to appeal for help in his family’s case. An online petition in support of the family’s permanent residency had 2,734 signatures as of April 12.
Kim is encouraged by two similar 2011 appeals, one involving a New Brunswick family from South Korea with an autistic son, and another from Quebec which included a family from France with a daughter with cerebral palsy. Both had residency denials reversed by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney after respective provincial governments agreed to absorb health care and social service costs.
In a letter sent to Hamilton Community News, Lisa states she shocked and upset after receiving the news about her family’s residency status.
“I believed that I would graduate from my high school, attend the university I wanted, and become a person who would share their talents and gifts to others. I have already applied to couple of universities in Ontario in hope to become a nurse. I always dreamed of helping and reaching for children who need my help, like my little brother,” Lisa states in her letter.
Lisa and Taehoon have grown up in Canada, but a forced relocation back to South Korea would be devastating, Lisa said.
“My home country, South Korea is well developed in economic field but the social/educational system for autism is very poor,” Lisa states. “Disability is not a choice. Everyone is valued regardless of both the disabled and the weak. We know Canada thinks humanity first regardless of races, religions, and the minorities. This is the reason why we love Canada and the reason we want to stay.”
The Kim family’s petition can be viewed at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/taehoon.html
Public release date: 9-May-2011
Contact: Karen N. Peart
Phone press conference: Friday, May 6, at 1 p.m. ET
New Haven, Conn. —Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in South Korea affect an estimated 2.64% of the population of school-age children, equivalent to 1 in 38 children, according to the first comprehensive study of autism prevalence using a total population sample. The study—conducted by Young-Shin Kim, M.D., of the Yale Child Study Center and her colleagues in the U.S., Korea and Canada—identifies children not yet diagnosed and has the potential to increase autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates worldwide.
ASDs are complex neurobiological disorders that inhibit a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and are often accompanied by behavioral challenges.
Published online today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study reports on about 55,000 children ages 7 to 12 years in a South Korean community, including those enrolled in special education services and a disability registry, as well as children enrolled in general education schools. All children were systematically assessed using multiple clinical evaluations. This method unmasked cases that could have gone unnoticed. More than two-thirds of the ASD cases in the study were found in the mainstream school population, unrecognized and untreated.
The research team, including cultural anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker of George Washington University, took steps to mitigate potential cultural biases that could impact diagnostic practices and prevalence estimates. They also considered that more Korean children with ASD may be found in mainstream educational settings based on the design of the highly structured Korean educational system, which often includes 12-hour-long school days. Therefore Korean children with ASD may function at various levels in the Korean general population while not receiving special education services.
“While this study does not suggest that Koreans have more autism than any other population in the world, it does suggest that autism may be more common than previously thought,” said Grinker.
According to Kim, the study’s corresponding author, experts disagree about the causes and significance of reported increases in ASD, partly because of variations in diagnostic criteria and incomplete epidemiologic studies that have limited the establishment of actual population-based rates. “We were able to find more children with ASD and describe the full spectrum of ASD clinical characteristics,” said Kim, assistant professor in the Yale Child Study Center. “Recent research reveals that part of the increase in reported ASD prevalence appears attributable to factors such as increased public awareness and broadening of diagnostic criteria. This study suggests that better case finding may actually account for an even larger increase.”
Kim said that while the current project did not investigate potential risk factors in this particular population, the study does set the stage for ongoing work to examine genetic and environmental factors contributing to the risk of ASD.
She also noted that the study is further evidence that autism transcends cultural, geographic, and ethnic boundaries and is a major global public health concern, not limited to the Western world.
“We know that the best outcomes for children with ASD come from the earliest possible diagnosis and intervention,” said Kim, whose co-investigator, Yun-Joo Koh of the Korea Institute for Children’s Social Development, reported that in response to the study findings, Goyang City, host of the Korea study, has courageously begun to provide comprehensive assessment and intervention services for all first graders entering their school system. “We hope that others will follow Goyang City’s example so that any population-based identification of children with ASD is accompanied by intervention services for those children and their families.”
The research was funded by a Pilot Research Grant from Autism Speaks; a Children’s Brain Research Foundation Grant; NIMH Career Awards; and the George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research Grant.
Other authors on the study include Bennett L. Leventhal, M.D., Eric Fombonne, M.D., Eugene Laska, Eun-Chung Lim, Keun-Ah Cheon, M.D., Soo-Jeong Kim, M.D., HyunKyung Lee, and Dong-Ho Song, M.D.
A phone press conference with Kim, Grinker and Autism Speaks representatives will take place on Friday, May 6 at 1 p.m. ET. To participate, please visit https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/178436800. After registering you will receive a confirmation e-mail with information about joining the Webinar and participation by phone or computer audio.
Article posted in Asian community, Communities