Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Time To Do What Is Right

“The time is always right to do what is right.” ...... Dr Martin Luther King

Today is October 31. It has been 138 days since Ayn van Dyk, a 9 year old girl with autism, was abducted from school by CPS/MCFD in British Columbia, Canada. This was done to "lighten her father's load" ~ by taking Ayn he would only have 2 children to care for, one who has autism as well. It is impossible to imagine one person, let alone a team of social workers, thinking they would be doing anyone in this family any favors by kidnapping their only sister and daughter. How horrific this must have been for this little girl, strangers stealing her away to a strange house and  people; then to a psychiatric hospital unit where she was heavily drugged.

IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED keep reading and you will be. If your are one of thousands enraged by this story, keep reading through posts on this blog and be ready to learn how wide spread this practice is. Be aware, be prepared so this does not happen to you or someone you love.

What has happened in 4 months? Time has past but not much has changed.

Derek has yet to be heard in court and no date has been set for this to happen. He meets regularly with MCFD staff and he has been told that they will be sending Ayn home but not for 4 more months and with conditions, all of which he will have great difficulty agreeing to. They had no "just cause" to abduct Ayn in the first place and they certainly have found, quite to the contrary, that there is no "just cause" for keeping her. Why are they still keeping her in custody? This a question everyone is asking for which no answer has been given.

What are your thoughts? Please leave us a comment.

“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”...........Henry Van Dyk

Here is Derek Hoare's plea written 4 months ago.........................

My name is Derek I am a single father of three wonderful young children, aged 9, 10 and 11; my youngest two have both been diagnosed with severe autism. Though a constant and challenging struggle, I have done my best to protect and nurture them, as I love them so much and have dedicated my life to their achievement of happiness. My youngest child is a bright and beautiful little spitfire named Ayn. She has and is blossoming so well here at home and has come so far to overcome her obvious disability, she does however continue to struggle and outburst when in other environments, particularly at school.

Ayn is naive and unaware of the dangers that exist in the world at large, so when on Sunday June 12th she escaped the backyard we were very worried for her safety. With each passing moment the likelihood that something terrible had happened increased, as Ayn should stand out from other children easily and should have been quickly spotted. Fortunately Ayn was discovered two doors down playing in a neighbours backyard, the neighbour had taken an afternoon nap which provided Ayn with the ability to play undisturbed. The challenges I have faced in caring for my daughter have been encompassing and life altering, these challenges are very dynamic and new challenges arise as fast as the old one depart. Now with her discovery of the neighbours nearby trampoline and pool, she will undoubtedly seek to return there, vigilance will be required to face this new found challenge, but it is one which I must now face just as I have with each prior challenge and as i would have to with our future challenges as well. As it stands today I may never get that opportunity.

On the morning of June 16th two workers from CPS arrived at my home to request that I "voluntarily" give Ayn over to them (she was at school at the time), if I refused they would simply coercively remove her. There should be no illusions here when someone approaches you and says "give me your child or i'm taking her" you should not pretend that any such choice would be done "voluntarily".

Within hours of her removal Ayn had hospitalized and drugged with powerful neuroleptics, one of which at double the maximum daily dose. Her whereabouts has been concealed from me, due to me refusing to sign the voluntary agreement. And I will not be given the opportunity to argue before an impartial court as per why this was a wrongful removal for months. After twelve days of hospitalization, in which the hospital noted "no bruises or evidence of physical abuse and her body status showed no evidence of neglect" , and "Initially there was some suspicion of ADHD along with autistic aggression, but this dissipated as Ayn improved...".

The hospital insisted on discharging her (june 28th), she is now in foster care awaiting further hospitalization as the Ministry has waitlisted Ayn for a longer term residential based psychiatric assessment. My little girl is autistic, she does not require a psychiatric assessment, I am aware that she does not understand the dangers that lurk, I love her and I protect her, when Ayn has a tantrum at school it is me they either call in to calm her or send her home to, when she is injured it is to me whom she turns because she "needs a bandage". The greatest successes this little girl has had were nurtured in the home, she loves it here, she loves her brothers and she loves her Dad, It is my firm belief that if our system of child protection has reached a point where a happy thriving child who was not abused and in no need of medicating, can be coercively removed from their family, forcibly medicated within hours, denied access to that family punitively, and the family is given no redress for months potentially years; then we are indeed facing a serious systemic problem. A problem which unfortunately is not confined to my city or province, nor even my country, for these acts are playing out around the world. Please help me get my little girl back and to address this issue in such a way that it never affects another family again.

I would be forever in your debt,

Derek (July28th, 2011)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


by Dr. Ron Unruh

Appetizer: ...child protection workers do make mistakes, yet if there is a willingness the same workers can learn from those mistakes and improvements can be made to practice...

Among the hard realities of child protective work is that we do not live in a perfect world and there are no perfect parents. Good parents sometimes make mistakes. All parents may not meet the arbitrary standards that a social worker has developed as a model. These parents can nonetheless function capably as loving caregivers and have a right to do so. They might benefit from services offered with no attached strings and provisos. Another hard reality is that child protection workers do make mistakes, yet if there is a willingness the same workers can learn from those mistakes and improvements can be made to practice. Reluctance to learn informs superiors that these workers may not be made of the right stuff for this work.

Eileen Munro wrote a 2006 volume called "Effective Child Protection.”
One of her most poignant lines quoted from page 141 is, "The single most important factor in minimizing errors is to admit that you may be wrong." This is fundamental to turning MCFD around. I explore that premise today.

We would begin to minimize the mistakes that are being made in child protection if we employed the right people. Hiring and retaining the right people for child protection in British Columbia is a difficult science. I don't believe that the Ministry of Children and Family Development has yet mastered it. It's easy to be critical and I must sound like that often. If employing the right people for child protection is a priority for us, then what must be understood at the top of the stuctural chart is that there has to be a balance between acquiring people with an academic ability to meet the job demands and the emotional intelligence to work with families, colleagues and other professionals.

Did you catch that? Emotional intelligence is not to be shunned but valued. Child protection is not merely an academic exercise whereby one follows the letter of the law. This is human welfare with which we are dealing. These parents are fellow humans of the same stuff as you are social workers, and these parents are not antagonists by nature. Their adversarial buttons have been pushed sometimes by the mistaken actions of social workers who have failed to, or been unable to use emotional intelligence.

The skills and knowledge Eileen Munro thinks are needed to do the job properly include:
  • using comprehensive and rational frameworks to make decisions
  • using both current and historical information in relation to making judgements about families
  • being prepared to change their beliefs about a family based on new information i.e. not clinging to old beliefs whilst ignoring new information
  • workers testing their hypothesis about a particular judgement.
  • having a critical approach to the work they are undertaking
  • refraining from letting first impressions of the family shape case direction
These skills should be the common framework or language between the team leader and worker. A common ground that is used to measure and monitor what is happening in a family.
Mistakes will continue to be made in the helping professions. Child Protection is not immune from this. The challenge is to be proactive in developing systems that enable practitioner's to make the best decisions possible. Where mistakes are made, it is important that processes are put in place to salvage whatever lessons are possible.”

(This post inspired by the Child Protection and Youth Justice Professional Development Unit of State Government of Victoria, Australia, Department of Human Services)

Monday, October 24, 2011


by Dr. Ron Unruh

The blog title seems to be an apparent leap in logic that parents of autistic children are making but it is entirely reasonable. If nine year old Ayn can be removed from her daddy whom she loves, other children who may wander from home or display bizarre behaviour in a public venue can similarly risk removal from their parental homes. That is what is concerning parents of autistic children and members of autism societies and support groups and research organizations.

Ayn’s case is typical of so many family situations in which disabled children have not been neglected or abused by their caregiving parents but after cursory investigation, government agencies have jumped to the default protection option – take the child away.

Derek calls his daughter Ayn an amazing work in progress, a young girl who can appreciate baking and music and photography. She is an affectionate child with her dad and her two brothers, one of whom is also autistic. She does communicate albeit with challenges. Her in-school experience has been burdened with lack of educational resources for a person with her condition. A house re-location placed her in a new school with activities that accommodate disabilities such as Ayn’s. While Ayn was adjusting to this new welcoming environment, she still became aggressive and lashed out and put fellow students at some risk. This led to isolation procedures and a safety plan concerning her.
Then in August of 2010 in the hopes that a new city might provide a new beginning for Ayn, Derek moved his family to a different home and city which introduced to Ayn a new school. In that school a small personal room was constructed within a classroom which provided separation from the school population. She still experienced days of severe agitation. This resulted in Ayn’s care team, of which an MCFD representative was a member, designed a four-tiered behavioural ‘safety plan.’ There were different levels of intervention that were applicable when Ayn was observed to be violent and perhaps prone to self-injury. An aspect of the intervention was a calm down area constructed within her little room that was dressed with gym mat padding to prevent her from hurting herself. She was given a blanket and music and a rocking chair with which to calm herself as part of this strategy but it proved to be ineffective. Her aggression did not subdue but escalated.

The care team began reviewing a possibility that Ayn’s aggressive outbursts may have a dual diagnosis but Derek rejected this proposition. Derek believed that the ‘safety plan’ had informed Ayn that she could manipulate the administrators. His contention was that since she did not behave this way at home, it was the school environment that provoked this behaviour, and the calming strategy was a contributing factor. So whatever progress was being made at home to modify Ayn’s behaviour through loving relationships was not consistent with the techniques employed at school.

The school did not agree with Derek.

Derek had some prior interaction with MCFD. The earliest occurred several years ago, involving his oldest son who is a neurotypical child, whereas Ayn and he middle brother are autistic. This boy lost his kitten and was given permission by Derek to look though the neighbourhood and cross certain streets. His son crossed one that had not been permitted and made a pay phone call to 911 to announce his lost cat. Two days later, CPS came to Derek’s door alleging that the boy had abused the emergency service system and that he was ill-supervised. Nothing more came of this but a couple of years later the same boy was playing in a local park but was unsupervised. Somehow CPS was notified and then demanded to know why Derek allowed this. Derek’s explanation was that he had two disabled children whose care he and to prioritize and he did not want to place his oldest normal child under virtual house arrest. The boy was then nine years of age and Derek was informed that the ‘community standard’ does not permit a young child to play unsupervised in the park. Whether Derek knowing what he now knows, would now reconsider his response if faced with the same issue is unknown, but his passion for civil rights at the time found expression by his assertion that the Charter of Rights surely supersedes the ‘community standard’ and the Charter allows people to freely move about. Derek wanted to voice record this interaction but the CPS representative refused and left. In that earlier altercation, CPS returned weeks later and demanded that he undergo a risk assessment which he did and he heard nothing more, and therefore assumed he had passed. This was the start of the adversarial relationship that has most recently culminated in the apprehension of his daughter Ayn.

You can read some extensive coverage of this story well written by San Pedro Special Education Examiner Carrie Russo, and published by on August 2-9, 2011
Part One :
Part Two :
Part Three :

Sunday, October 23, 2011


By Dr. Ron Unruh

Ayn is autistic. She wandered from home. She was found. Days later MCFD removed her from her daddy’s home. Well not quite. They surreptitiously apprehended her at her school when her daddy wasn’t there. Is Christy Clark’s MCFD really in harmony with her widely touted pro-family credo? )

For the uninitiated Autism is characterized, by a triad of social impairments, namely impairment of social recognition, of social communication, and of social understanding and imagination, or stated as three types of disability:
  • Rigidity of thought and behaviour, and limited imagination or imaginative play where the individual may carry out ritualistic actions, or focus upon minor details (such as an item of clothing rather than the person, or part of a toy rather than the whole thing);
  • Limited verbal and non-verbal communication with a lack of true two-way conversational skills, a failure to understand the emotions, gestures, or ideas of others, and an over-literalness in interpreting what is said; Difficulty with social relationships, with an appearance of aloofness or indifference, and with inappropriate or repetitive styles of approach if contact is initiated.

It is a daunting and unfortunate reality that although childhood autism is occurring in almost ‘epidemic’ proportions, the government and doctors still have very little knowledge about properly structuring the best kind of teaching. It’s certain that the child protection units around here do not understand autism or SWs would not injudiciously take a child that is happy at home and place her in a strange and clinical place for days, and then finally place her in a foster home where we must hope there are foster parents who are acquainted with the requisite care needed by Ayn VanDyk.

If the Abbotsford crew of MCFD child protection workers were informed, they would not have taken Ayn VanDyk from her father Derek Hoare. They would instead have spared no effort to learn what resources they could make available to Derek that would assist him to continue the remarkable level of love and care he provides to his three children and in fact would enhance that care.

An autistic child needs structured instruction in order to learn and to develop. The need for structure in learning is supported by bases such as these. Autistic children do not use or respond to language with ease as do other children. Some find great difficulty communicating what they want to say. Sometimes that difficulty translates into aggressive behaviour and/or tantrums. Autistic children can experience difficulty accessing their sequential memories (keeping events in order). This too may render the child uncooperative or belligerent.

Yet the autistic child will react better to a consistent, modeled and reinforced pattern of behaviour and teaching. For that reason some of the best teaching and learning that can develop an autistic child, begins and ends at home. For Ayn, home is where Derek and her brothers are. In this home is where this child learns to become a functioning member of society, to interact with those close to her, to have manners, to do certain things that will help her grow and develop. Ayn VanDyk has been receiving all of this loving and caring structure in her home and this has been appreciatively augmented in a local school. MCFD upset all of this.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


By Dr. Ron Unruh

Does the Ministry of Children and Family Development understand Autism?

Whatever informed expertise there is within MCFD, it has not been communicated to front line workers and their supervisors who are making unreasonable decisions about autistic children.

Taking a child away from an attendant and proficient father as MCFD have done with 9 year old Ayn was pointless, reactionary, excessive and injurious. The adjectives are entirely appropriate for this stupid social worker action.

Instead of the Ministry providing practical, actionable information and financial assistance and affirming support to parents like Derek Hoare, the Ministry disciplines with severity when an autistic child does what comes naturally – wanders. And the manner by which the Ministry manages that tendency consists of seizing the girl and pumping drugs into her. The enormity of this offense defies expression with words. For the first eighteen days of her captivity she has daily wept. A nine year old girl should not be subjected to that. That is not in her best interests. If she cried every day while in the care of her dad and the Ministry heard about that, it would assume abuse or neglect. The reading public of this blog and of other news sources that carry the story readily associate the Ministry’s actions as abuse of their mandate. Citizens should be able to assume that Ministry personnel are intelligent, copiously prepared and fully informed about autism before they interfere with parental care of autistic children who are loved and cherished within their families. We are regularly supplied with reasons for disbelieving that. Not least of which is this distasteful harm done to a sweet girl who must now cling to a photograph of her dad holding her in his arms.

She should be in his arms.

Hon. Mary McNeil and Hon. Christy Clark, you must give attention to this case certainly, but beyond this single case, to the conduct of this Ministry challenged with responsibility for which it appears at so many levels to be incapable of satisfying. You have to turn this around for the sake of the people who have elected you to serve and to help us.

Please contact Derek Hoare directly at
Derek Hoare 904-HELP AYN 904-435-7296

Friday, October 21, 2011


By Dr. Ron Unruh

What I am coming to believe is that many social workers do not know what is expected of them as they perform their work. Most of them have entered their careers with honourable intentions to help people, seniors, adults, children and families. Those social workers who choose to go into child protection are motivated to enable families and to protect children.

When case after case surfaces wherein the action of the social worker is challenged by parents and it becomes clear that such action is contestable because it flies in the face of reasonable, objective, social work practice, the guidance system has malfunctioned.

The Child, Family and Community Services Act has provided the guidance. It contains the rationale, justification for and procedures mandated for delivery of government social services to the province’s citizens. Some people argue the Act itself should be jettisoned or overhauled. I trust the experienced opinion of a few people whom I know who think this way. Nonetheless that is our guidance. The guidance system is operated by the staff that is required to make delivery of services according to the Act. Where, within this system is the malfunction occurring? It’s anyone’s guess at the moment. No one has done a suitable assessment recently. It’s been more than a decade since the last inquiry which resulted in scores of recommendations to improve the guidance system and delivery of social services. It has taken years to implement the recommendations and meanwhile we continue to have serious performance issues in the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

So it is the human element that is the cause for periodic malfunctions experienced by the guidance system that is used for day to day social work. And I am unconvinced that the front line case worker is the one to whom a finger should be predictably pointed. The Act is being interpreted by those who occupy positions up the chain, whether Team Leaders or eventually Directors. Social Workers have some latitude for personal decision making but they also receive orders. Directors apply their title to the various applications associated with child protection. They know case details, give approval to courses of action, and even issue instructions. The onus falls to the Directors to insure clean cases, no foul-ups, no miscues, no lapses of attention, no missed signs, and no dumb choices. To affect a stellar performance rating, the interpretation of the ACT is critical and if the interpretation is motivated by expediency and convenience, then injustices occur.

Taking Ayn Van Dyk from her father Derek Hoare was a Team decision. Social workers did not perpetrate that without approval. What is missing at the Team level? They knew that the removal would commit this child to months of foster or institutional care. They knew that this action would require court appearances, orders, court time, legal counsel, and the expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars. What is missing among Team members that they could not arrive at a plan of action that incorporated a thorough investigation of the child’s home situation, health and care; a gracious, collaborative relationship with Derek that might result in aid provided to him rather than a daughter taken from him? The Team has stepped away from the guidance and resorted to winging it. The system is flawed by humans who err in judgement and then defence kicks in and self-justification, and handy 'confidentiality' silence, and so we go. One family’s agony laid upon another family's horror until we have a mountain of irregularities created by the MCFD. Perhaps that is why social workers with the excellence tags leave after about two years with the MCFD. They can’t take it any more. Neither can we.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sending Ayn Some Special Thoughts

We are thinking positive thoughts for you today Ayn, that...........

~ on Tuesday the judge will return you home where Daddy, Wyatt and Lyric are waiting for you. And I want you to know how hard Daddy, Mommy and a big group of people are working to get you back home. You are very loved and we want the best for you - which is to be at home with your Daddy
........... Carolyn Doherty

~ My thoughts for Ayn reach further than her return (which is coming soon) and into her life's journeys. My wish for her and all people with disabilities is that they never again suffer at the hands of ignorance of their disorder. And beyond this wish, that she and all of us not only are understood but also accepted and valued for who we are as individuals
...........Karla Fisher

~ you are returned today! and that you have a big celebration dinner!!
.............Renee Allard

~ you remain safe until you return to your family. Your family, friends and strangers alike all pray for your immediate return. Ayn, you are a precious angel who is surrounded by a circle of love and hope.
......... Shauna Halliday Sullivan   

~ you  get to feel today's sunshine on your face and know that your daddy is coming for you as soon as he can!
.......... Sally Bretherton Comin 
~ although you've suffered, that suffering will not have been in vain because you'll have helped society to grow............. Rochelle Dolim     
~ you hold on tightly to that beautiful free spirit of yours, and never give up hope that Daddy's coming. I am sweetie... I love you
..........Derek Hoare 
~ that you'll one day understand how the world came together to help you get back to your daddy. Xx..........Shelly Williamson 
~ your wish of going to Daddy's house will come true very soon and that you will feel safe and happy when you are back where you belong
.............Sarah Leary

~ you will soon be home, Ayn, with your loving family, and comfortable and familiar surroundings, and that all the trouble and heartbreak - this nightmare created by MCFD - will be a distant memory, replaced by the laughter and joy of being with those who truly do love and care for you
...........Mea A. Jones
~ you are so very brave little one. Daddy will be there soon to bring you home..............Jen Travers

~ that you wish will come through and you will be going to your home where the best daddy in the world is for your beautiful young lady that you are keep smiling I just love your dimple Ayn, and let not forget your loving mommy and your two loving brothers also so you could giggles with all loving family XOXO..............Geralda Cyr 

~ you realize that you are never alone. There are thousands of us out here with you in our hearts and on our minds. You are such a beautiful little girl and Daddy will be coming soon. Kisses sweetie..........Lynda Thexton Willson

~ you will SOON be HOME where you BELONG and will receive the love, caring and security you should NEVER have been denied
.............Victoria Ettinger
~ all of the above come true for you!...........Jean Nicol

If Only Ayn's Abductors Understood and Accepted Autism

The Cure, Recover and Fix Language

My name is Karla Fisher.  I am a 48 year old Autistic adult.  I am pro-cure and pro-cure research… with caveats…  I stand next to the parents and caregivers who wish nothing but the best for their ASD people and cheer them on while supporting their cause with both my “pen” and my checkbook.

I write this post to educate the many wonderful and hardworking caregivers of ASD people about the dangers of the language they use. Some of this is simple disability rights stuff and some of it does not represent my own viewpoint necessarily but I have heard said from many ASD groups and the individuals in those groups.  I am hoping to break down the language for you so that you understand why your words matter and why they hurt.  I hope this gives you guidance as well as new words and perspectives that you can use to continue to provide support to the ASD person you love. 

I read a post recently where a Mother of an ASD child was wondering why anyone would not want a “cure” for ASD.  I hope this helps her and the countless others who wonder this to see another side. 

These words mean that something is wrong:   

The word “cure” causes many people with disabilities to get hurt.  This is not just for the ASD community but also for many others who are labeled with a disability.  Some people with disabilities do not see themselves as disordered.  Nor do they see themselves as “lesser”.  A valiant charge for a global “cure” of ASD would presume that you (the person using this word) feel that ASD is a disorder and that the person you want “cured” is lesser because of it.  

 Many ASD people are quite happy just the way they are.  There is even the camp in the ASD world who feel that without ASD there would be no great inventions or art. 

I watched this video once on Youtube that was marvelously done by a very caring Father.  It was set to a song with words saying that he was going to “fix” his little girl.  Now at 48 years of age, I can abstract what that means and even understand that this Father meant well, BUT my heart broke for the day that his young daughter comprehended that word and its literal translation in the context of that video. I know that had my Father ever used that word around me it would have destroyed me and I would not be the person I am today. 

These words cheapen the fact that true ASD is a PDD.

Because ASD is pervasive, (meaning you cannot parse the good from the bad) many presume that to “cure” would mean to take away who they are as a person.  I personally would love to cure my symptoms but I would not take a cure that did not parse the symptoms from the person (Never happen in my lifetime).  This is largely because I hate change (LOL) but also because I do want to keep the good things that I have that may be part of this disorder. 

ASD is pervasive.  (Take a moment to think about that word)  It is a WHOLE BODY disorder.  It is something that starts in the brain makeup and affects every single thing about the person who has it.  Most all ASD people suffer high anxiety due to the pervasiveness of the disorder.  If you put a healthy NT and a healthy ASD person into most any situation the ASD person will have higher stress.  This is because of the extra work they most do for any task they set about doing. 

Many people might say that I am recovered because I operate at such a high level. .  They see how successful I am and see that I do not have violent meltdowns so it must be the case that I am fine, right? 

That thinking completely disrespects and cheapens the work I do every single day that is over and above anything an NT may have to do.  When I first walk into a room, I have to build that room up from little fragments of data.  This takes HUGE cognitive energies.  An NT may see a table and chairs as soon as they walk in…  I may see patterns like digital camouflage.  I must spend time in the first 15 minutes acclimating to the room and building the objects.  Now take this effort and multiply that by every instance of every time we walk into a new place.  It isn’t that I am incapable of doing these great things but the energy I must spend to do them due to my disability is something that you must remain aware of if you are to be my caretaker. 

Oh and let’s talk Language.  Does your cure, fix or recovery make me see the world in words instead of pictures or patterns?  No it does not.  I still have to make full translations real time in conversations to words (my second language).  Think of it like you traveling to a country with a different language.  Think how hard that is even after you get somewhat conversant in that language.  Remember how there is great anxiety release when you can again speak in your native or natural tongue. 

Some days will be good days and some will be bad.  On the good days, I may be functioning so well that no Doctor would be able to tell that anything is wrong.  But as soon as my nutrients go off, or my sleep or any numbers of things go wrong, my symptoms worsen.  I am not ever cured, nor fixed nor recovered from the symptoms that cause me more anxiety than an NT and I must always be diligent and mindful of this.  My brain setup will predispose me to these worsened symptoms at seemingly random times.  That is what ASD is. 

It is absolutely dangerous to the ASD person (IMHO) when their caretakers think that they are cured, or recovered or fixed.  What parents and caregivers today do not yet largely know (though many are starting to experience) is that a large percentage (much greater than 50% from all I see) of ASD adult individuals actually hit a wall.  We call it “autistic burnout” amongst ourselves.  It largely happens because we are never given permission to admit that we are ASD and to act ASD.  We were never given permission to give ourselves the tools and rests that we need.  We are always being asked to compare ourselves to our NT peers.  I personally have suffered from clinically diagnosed exhaustion more times than anyone should in a lifetime.  Before my DX, I could not understand this.  Since my DX, I have not run into this as I am resetting my goals to match my abilities instead of the abilities of the NTs around me. 

But you said you are pro-cure…..  ?

When I say that I am pro-cure, I mean that I support ANYTHING that science can do that will help us to have a better quality of life.  The cure research actually ends up finding a lot of very useful information to that end.  I also support research for services and devices that will help us.  Heck, I support it all.  If there was a cure that could actually parse my “bad” symptoms while still allowing my good, I’d take it in a heartbeat.  Realistically we are many of my lifetimes away from that (right now there is absolutely ZERO scientific data that an actual cure is possible)  so am not putting a lot of resources into worrying about it today.  Today my energies are focused on keeping my whole body healthy so that my symptoms are reduced. 

But whatever should we use when our child is better based on XYZ therapy?

Here is how you say it in respectful (to them) language.  Bonus here is that it is also more technically correct too.  Your child’s symptoms are reduced from XYZ therapies.  The fact is that he is still autistic and still has more anxiety and works harder to process the world than he would if he were not autistic.  He also must be diligently watched and he must learn to watch out for himself and advocate for himself all through life…. Because he is still and always will be autistic…

I am all for any therapy that works for your ASD person to reduce symptoms.  I hate to see people paying more money for “autistic” gadgets and pills that are the same as non-autistic pills but that is the topic of another post.  Whatever works for you is great but please respect the ASD person in your care and do not talk about their ASD as the “bad” thing.  It is not their ASD but their symptoms.  ASD has many good qualities too and the whole of it is who we are.  We can talk all we want about Autism not defining us but it also never leaves us. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Derek's Decision re Visiting Ayn in Foster Care

by Derek Hoare

I know the issue of visitation is extremely divisive, and that my view is likely in the minority... but I want people to understand this was made neither lightly nor thoughtlessly... I do soo long to see her believe me. And hence I can completely understand peoples reasons for doing so, it is the natural response; I must however look at this in a long term manner... when Ayn comes home and this is... "behind us", will she feel safe, will she know that I would not leave her behind.
If you view this for a moment and imagine yourself the victim of an assault laying there pleading for help, or to come home. And your loved one arrives... you are so happy to see them as they are you, but rather than take you away from the situation they walk away leaving you there.... now when it is over and you return.... how do you view that person? What sort of betrayal would you feel... you may be able to understand judicial processes and rationalize why the person left you there... Ayn does not. All she will know is that I would walk away and leave her there rather than honour her wish to come home. that I had the ability to save her but walked away instead... who can she then trust?? that is a permanent realization it does not go away. 
Many of my closest allies and advisors in this, think I should see her, but they respect my view as I do theirs. For me this is not about satiating a short term desire for us to see each other, this is not about alleviating short term sadness... but is about preserving Ayn's long term belief that in this world she is curiously struggling to understand there are those who will always fight in her defense. She will not understand the nuances of government policy or judicial processes.
What Ayn knows is that "Daddy's coming" she knows this... we have a bond that ensures her trust in me. I love her... she loves me.... she knows I will always look out for her... and i'm trying. is this hard yes, very. I cry so much over her absence, I relish everything that reminds me of her. But she will be back and she will know that her home is a safe place and that Daddy never gave up.

Derek Hoare's Case for No Visitation

By Karla Fisher

Meltdowns hurt. Meltdowns are often referred to as Temper Tantrums by Neurotypical people. They can be violent and they can include loss of abilities such as speech or sensory and cognitive processing. Meltdowns happen because an ASD person goes into fight/flight mode. The body gives over to extreme emotion and they hurt. They hurt me physically. It feels like having the flu and takes me days to recover. They lead to panic attacks, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and a myriad of other health risks. I have a medical file inches thick from a lifetime of high anxiety and autistic meltdowns. My Father died last year (in his 60s) from a stroke brought on by years of anxiety, high blood pressure and meltdowns. Any smart ASD caregiver will focus their efforts on making sure that their ASD person has as few meltdowns as possible. This must be at the top of the priority list of things to address.

My name is Karla Fisher and I am writing on behalf of a little Autistic child name Ayn. She was taken from her Father and put in a Foster care home in Canada several months ago. Evidence suggests that Ayn is perseverating on returning to her Father’s care and that she mourned for weeks about being separated from him. Derek, (Ayn’s Father) began an outreach to the world in an attempt to get his daughter back. And that is why I now write.

My name is Karla Fisher and I have Autism too. I am speaking to you from inside of the body of a person affected by the same disorder that plagues Ayn. I am telling you how I perceive her feelings to be and asking you to understand that what the medical field knows about autism today is far less than what they do not know about it.

Derek Hoare has refused to visit his daughter Ayn and has stated his reasons. I have a bit of a different slant on the story and I am writing this letter to add my perspective on this topic. My hopes are that it clears up any doubt as to the sanity of this request. Ayn has obviously been traumatized by this sudden removal and she cannot possibly understand it on any logical level. (I am in the top 2% of all IQs in this world and even I don’t understand it) Ayn does not have the ability to reason or abstract as you guys do. She thinks in more binary terms. She will not ever understand that her Father can only visit her right now. She will instead see that she cannot have him after he is made to leave. It is a black/white thing folks. This is not about routine nor her being stubborn nor her needing to learn a lesson. This simply will not make sense. And all those “words” that you use cannot help. She will simply not get it.

A visitation will invoke meltdown scenario upon the Father’s departure. If Ayn has suffered enough trauma to have PTSD symptoms (we can reasonably conclude this with 18 straight days of crying) then, the meltdowns become PTSD trigger points or episodes. Science tells us that it takes 50 positive experiences to get rid of just 1 PTSD episode. If Derek and Ayn are made to visit multiple times, the damage could be very long lived for both of them as they try to get over PTSD symptoms. Remember too that each instance of these meltdowns results in physical harm to the ASD person which can result in long term physical damage. If Ayn were a Neurotypical child, these visits might actually have benefit but as a person with ASD they will be damaging.

Given this information does it logically make sense to make THIS the time that we teach this child a lesson?

Does the benefit of an unsupervised visit really outweigh the risk of this child’s physical health?

Is there an alternative solution to putting this child through the torture of having her Father taken from her again or again and again?

I understand that policy and rules exist but please understand that these policies were written for Neurotypical people without the concept of how a person with ASD might view this situation or the possible outcome. Given the circumstance I suggest that now is not the time to be right but rather to get it right. Visitation (especially multiple ones) where the child is pulled away from her “obsession object” (her Father) will cause more harm than good.

I have been in contact with a few other Autistic Advocates/people. John Elder Robison has agreed to sign documents in Ayn’s behalf. I am prepared and able to contact ASAN members to ask for their support as well. I believe I can get a number of very respected and reliable Autistic people to agree that this child needs to be given a break from policies in this case. I live in Portland Oregon area and am just a day trip from this family and will gladly travel to speak to anyone who has any doubt to the validity of these statements as well as be expert ASD witness.

My BIO can be found here…
I currently teach Doctors, OTs, SLPs teachers and caregivers about ASD. I am slated to be featured in Temple Grandin’s next book as an ASD role model. My name is Karla Fisher and I speak on behalf of this child who does not have these words.

Warm Regards,

“In order to walk in my shoes, you must first remove your own.”

Velvet Martin Takes Ayn's Story To Ottawa

Velvet Martin asked Derek today what issues he would like brought forward in future discussions she will have when in Ottawa. This was his response.....................
In Ayn's case in particular I would say the most disturbing thing is how long it took for any expert in her particular diagnosis to address or see her file (autism, 45 days), within hours of removal they had her injected with Ativan and given Haldol, within the following 24hrs Cogentin and Chlorpromazine... with Risperdal and Seroquel soon to follow. All these with no assessment in an unmedicated state, purely reactionary to a very upset little disabled girl who just wanted to go home. 
And even the limited assessment there was (while drugged) was done with no access to me for the doctor who had to determine what to do, simply with what was before him, a frightened autistic child. No investigation into her behaviour in the home was ever done, even to this day.
Another obvious criticism and one which I'm sure the government will love, due to them being able to use it to request additional resources (read taxes) is the wait time associated with child removals throughout the court process, the 7 day limit for a court order is a farce, and any innocent family caught in the maw of this juggernaut will suffer needlessly for months, potentially causing permanent psychological damage, and most certainly altering perceptions of reality forever.
As a side note, I think it important that they understand that most of these actions never result in any criminal charges laid against parents... I for one would have happily endured prison rather than have my child(ren) suffer through this. Yet no charges will ever be laid as I committed no crime, not an hour in jail will be wasted yet they can do this to me and my child(ren) for months and months.... that is criminal, and a clear violation of the charter.
Thank you so much Velvet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Derek's Daily Updates for September

CONTACT DEREK         904-HELP AYN 904-435-7296

Sept 26....................Day 103

The long awaited hearing date, my mom picked up Amie early and came over to my house, I kept Lyric home from school, and we sat together awaiting the fate which lay ahead. Was not an incredibly upsetting day for me as I had prepared myself for this moment and was made aware of this outcome on Day 5 by my lawyer... No shock... No tears... No disbelief. Just a rush of sympathy for Ayn and how much longer she has to sit drugged in a basement. I hope they are being good to her. I hope they see how sweet she can be, and realize just how smart and understanding a child they are now caring for. I have spent the last 9 years of my life protecting her from all the dangers that lurk yet always trying to let her test her limits and to learn that she can overcome these obstacles placed before her. To have that responsibility ripped from me under the guise of helping either her or myself is a monstrous paradox. Why not just expel her? I'd even happily endure exile than subject my child and family to this sort of "help". Ignorance and power are not to be mixed, and here we have built a system which though may be marginally successful at protecting the innocent child from an abusive family; conversely abuses any innocent family caught within its "protection".

Sept 23...............Day 100!

Been spending these days leading up to the conclusion of the presentation hearing (touch wood) researching a variety of elements pertaining to the use of drugs vs ABA therapy and the various programs which could be set up to address this rather than drugging Ayn in school.

Boggles my mind that I am even in this fight, never would have imagined I'd be faced with battling my own government over whether or not they can coercively medicate my daughter. Some decisions should simply be left with the family and if they did not like it perhaps they could take the time to educate themselves on my daughter and approach me rationally. The reality is they do claim the right to be able to do this to us at their will, and as I am finding out there is no way to escape the maw without facing it head on and going through it.

Frankly this is not their decision, and if they wanted to emulate the successes I was having in the home in the school environment then why would we drug her senses. It is not their brain to drug... and they can mind their own damn business. Since when is it that they believe they received the right to pump chemicals into a child without the permission of parents....?

Because one ministry (education) cannot handle her, another (MCFD) can remove and yet another (health) medicate, all while waiting for yet a fourth ministry (justice) even authorize the removal??? Where does the family sit?... We wait and watch... facing apologies for heavy caseloads and a lack of resources. One parent's nightmare.

Sept 20................Day 97

Ok so have written this a few times, Lou keeps coming and closing my tab as soon as I get up to do anything, so cannot move til this is done this time. The day began with Lyric in the bathroom with diarhea and not toilet paper... fun fun. After averting the disaster in progress came breakfast then got Wyatt to continue his work on energy technologies.
Spent much of the day pondering the upcoming interviews. The MCFD social worker arrived 30 min early and we began the meeting with an offer and summation of services the MCFD was willing to provide for me to help my kids. After which we moved on to the interviews; Wyatt was to go first followed by Kim then myself. I was told each interview would take apx 30 min, watching the clock as Wyatt was down there seemed to tick by, took over one hour. The questions he was asked centered on his role within the family, and his daily routine; the standard MCFD questions about punishments and fear were also touched upon.
Kim's interview as well largely seemed to center on his role within the family. When my turn arrived I was informed the questions for me were largely pointless as we had covered my answers in previous encounters. Instead we engaged in what appeared to be a rapport building exercise, we both spoke of our pasts and tried to get a feel for who the other was as a person. Was quite interesting.
I know many thought Wyatt being interviewed alone was unadvisable, suspicion also abounded over the timing of these interviews. But it was in fact me who kept pointing out to MCFD that these interviews had never been done , and that any investigation into the validity of their decision would presumably include a view into the household, why it is that it took until day 97 for them to interview Kim and Wyatt is beyond me.
Now I am admittedly biased but I believe the deeper the understanding of my situation the clearer the injustice of this should become. Time will tell once we see their "interpretation" of our answers.
Sept 20.....................Day 97

I just received an inquisitive email seeking more info on Ayn, as many answers to questions are now buried under hundreds of posts, this was my response:

Ayn's behaviour at school was violent and aggressive, but it was the school that formented that behaviour as her "saftety plan" they had in place required them to allow her to go calm down if she ever became so. Ayn learned that in order to be in control of her own time at school she had to get aggressive or violent, that if she asked or even got a little upset she was simply redirected back to her task at hand. However if she exhibited extreme aggressive behaviour than she was allowed to go sit in a rocking chair and listen to music or go to her "calm down room".

In the home I experienced all of those behaviours as well, but with time and understanding they dissipated three years ago, as Ayn learned that violence would not get her what she wanted in the home... here she had to use her words.

I did have many measures in place to protect Ayn and her brother Lyric who also has autism. I lock the exterior doors of the house with key locks from the inside, this is because though i do not experience the violence the school does she is still naive as is her brother and they are liable to walk out the front door, plus it makes it much easier to know where they are. I lock up the food in a pantry, as well as the toiletries as these will be wasted inplay (bubbles and the like), the bulk of the remaining extreme measures I undergo at home involve repairs, as the children are very hard on thigns and continue to misuse items... vacuums, toilets, VCR tapes, the sink, etc are often all toys for them. Her nudity is an ongoing problem though she has gotten better with that too.

She is enrolled in a public school but is isolated from the populous of the school, and is assigned 2 fulltime TA's. Academically the school has struggled with Ayn, failing to consistently get her under "instructional control", they have never taught her past grade 1, at home however Ayn learns like a sponge and i have taught her enough to catch up and surpass her peers in many ways. She began at this new school at the beginning of last school year (sept 2010) and they began to assess her level... she demonstrated the ability to do her own grade level (4), so they gave her grade 5, she could do that too so they moved her onto grade 6 work (thinking perhaps the outbursts were due to boredom).

Ayn is highly intelligent yet severely delayed in her ability to converse, her ability to understand is great and her ability to express her self is good as well, however there is a bridge to gap with respect to her ability to have two way conversations. And she is still very much interested in preschool type shows or movies, she is a very innocent and naive little girl who really does not yet understand that this is not Her planet to do with as she wants. But she is learning and growing... drugging her is not only unnecessary but reprehensible as she is bright and just needs to be shown how to properly get what she wants.

In school however the expectations levied against her in terms of how her time is spent was unacceptable to her. She needs to be taught by providing her choices and allowing her to direct her learning... with my role as parent to be to control the available choices... in that manner Ayn has excelled.

If you have any further questions let me know please, well informed and thoughtful advice can only serve to benefit me. And the better you understand this situation I believe the greater you will see the injustice of this and of what continues to be done to her. She is at present being give 2 neuroleptic atypical antipsychotics, one consistently and the other reserved for when she gets upset... to "calm" her. As her parent this is a nightmare... I love my daughter... I love her free spirit... and I love her will power... I see no reason for the government to coercively medicate her into submission."

Sept 19...........Day 96

Was Lyric's first day of school today, he has to catch the bus a 10 min walk away at 7:30, so he's about to become quite the early riser. The day went very well, the building is very big compared to any of his previous schools, this is a middle school grades 6, 7, 8. Lyric was very awestruck to the point of excitement, wanted to explore everything and settled right into the class/ resource room as if it were his own.

The teacher seems really good, perhaps too good, was an athletic man and the room is staffed by 6 TA's, these people are more experienced with someone of Lyric's size. There are several other autistic children as well as some adorable down syndrome kids, we all went for a walk to the local park and played on the equipment there.

Was a good day, funny too because there happened to be an assembly that morning, Lyric stood in the main foyer on a stage, and flapped happily away at all the kids as they meandered past on their way to assembly. I am sure he made quite the impression... the world is such a joyous place for Lou (Lyric's nickname).

Wyatt is still plugging away with his microscope, making observations and sketches on just about anything magnifiable.

I have been struggling with pressure exerted from all sides on my decision not to see Ayn, not that I'm wavering just wish my reasoning was better understood. Will write something up for everyone soon.

Sept 18............Day 95

Was a very busy day today, Lyric finally starts school tomorrow and wanted to make sure everything was ready. Wyatt also has been working with his microscope alot and he needed help preparing slides. Got to spend some time talking with an old friend too, he was able to help me keep things in perspective and redirect my energies.

Ayn never drifts far from the forefront of my mind though... it's like an ever present void, not the existence of something but the lack thereof. This house once teemed with her sounds: blaring cartoons, music, singing and laughter... filled now with eerie quiet. So much of what we did as a family centered around Ayn, she was very often the navigator of this ship.

Lyric is always so happy go lucky and Wyatt is considerate so Ayn often selected our activities. She loved to bake, chocolate chip cookies or pink cake, she knows every incredient and measurement we need. But definitely her favourite thing was to listen to music and write, such a creative little girl... now dulled and sedated.

Really makes you wonder how such treatment could be considered to be in her best interest... within hours of removal without ever having spoken to me or anyone else who knew her. Where is the logic... where is the reason... where is the empathy?

Sept 17........... Day 94

It's hard to stay aware of the bubble I find myself in, always reading these documents, white papers and transcripts. I try to follow cases everywhere yet focus on BC and the CFCSA. The legislation across the western world seems to be crafted very similarly, as if each modelled off the same template. Quite foreboding reading, it does however tend to distort ones perception of the present. ...Hence I have to be ever aware of all elements of policy transformation. Simultaneously I have two boys to care for, a household to manage, therapy to structure and memories of a little girl suffusing my every thought. Every minute becomes very precious and prioritized, there is simply not enough time in the day to accomplish everything I would like to. Spent quite a bit of time talking to Amie last night, we discussed the visitation, something we strongly disagree on. Amie and myself are both very thoughtful and stubborn people, but easily find union on one very important matter.... our love for our kids. We do not question one anothers motives. This decision of mine has been an incredibly difficult one and quite controversial, I will endeavour in the coming days to justify my actions in a doc, as many have questioned my rationale. This whole nightmare seems to get more surreal as the days pass. If anyone has a question they would like me to address here feel free to PM me or email me at: , let me know if you would like your name included with the question, or if you would just like to hear the answer.

it's September 16th, day 93 I guess.

Ayn at present is in a foster home, living in a separate suite downstairs with 24 hr caregivers. She is being medicated daily with Risperdal, and sporadically "as needed" with Seroquel if she tantrums. Benadryl and melatonin are also administered. Both Risperdal and Seroquel are neuroleptic (nerve seizing) atypical antipsychotics, with long lists of side effects.

She attends the same school she did last year, as a result of which I have had to move Lyric to a new school, which fortunately does seem to be very suited to his needs. Wyatt is studying the eucaryotic cell, learning about integers and working away on a book report about the revolutionary war.

Today for me was a bit of recovery, since yesterday morning was surreally difficult. The reason being that I am facing a process which is multifaceted yet each path takes months.... months.... It has already been months, why subject her to this? Because she was unruly? Because she knew just how to get her way at school and bullied them around. She is a little autistic girl, she doesn't understand how sentient we all are, this is her universe and she does not want to be told what to do in it... but she is learning. And she has gotten so much better, I know what the school is facing I have faced it too. But long ago I succeeded in teaching Ayn that violence will not get her what she wants, that she needs to use her words.The school system I'm afraid is simply not ready for some autistic kids just as they are not ready for it.

Ayn is a very bright little girl, her disability does not lie in her vocabulary or intelligence but in her social interaction. She is affectionate and caring but solitary and emotional. She loves music and art, photography and the internet. She does not need to be drugged for her "well being" she was perfectly happy in the home. And when I think about this taking months longer I am flooded with a range of emotions.

So today I spent the moring getting the boys on task, I had a meeting with community services at 10:30 til 12. Chasing moments here and there to work on what I can, always able to think about this but time to work on it is more limited. Kim has been a huge help, he watches the boys daily at this point, which is fun to watch as wyatt and kim try to make eachother and lyric laugh. budding comedians.


Day 121 with 8 donors we will have $ 248 at the end of the month............. we need MORE!

It is going to be very costly to pay for the best legal support and/or expert witnesses, we need to all pitch in to help with this any way we can, even for a small donation. As I write this, with 4 more members we will have 4000! If this many people made a small donation it would be awesome! Imagine if this many people did $1 a day! Even 1/2 of us doing $1 a day for Oct would mean $62000!

We had a great response from a group of 42 people who pledged to save $1 a day for the month. So we were thinking let's try this again for the month of October. Some folks put $1 in a can every day, others had a fundraising activity to raise the money and raised enough to contribute for several months! Or several people could work together on an activity. Be creative. This month it 31 days so that will be $31 contributed by each person.

Some ideas for raising this money might be:

Used book sale Bake sale Used toy sale Talent contest Car wash Concert Dinner Theatre
Guest Speaker Barbeque Raffle (something very popular) Bottle driveAutism support group donation Theater show (theatre donation) Skating Party (arena donation) Tournament (every player pays $1) Lemonade sale Coffee Party Yard Sale Flea Market table Starbuck’s Allowance    
Tim Horton’s Allowance Cost of a pack of cigarettes Contents of your PayPal Account
Some of our Christmas Gift Money Birthday $ Used Toy sale Babysitting for a Friend Having a Raffle Declutter your house, sell items on e-bay

If you can think of other ideas please add them in a comment here or on the group page.

I will start the list of Donors:

1) Jean Nicol
2) Lynda Thexton Willson
3) Mark Willson
4) Michele Nieves
5) Kathy White
6) Sarah Leary
7) Richard Prettie
8) Carolyn Slizys-Scholey


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why Drugging Ayn Is Wrong

By Derek Hoare

Self Injury

1- Some individuals engage in self-injurious behaviors to obtain attention from other people. (Treatment: People in the environment should ignore the person when he/she engages in self-injury; thus, the person will learn that the behavior will not lead to attention.)
2- Some individuals exhibit self-injury to escape or avoid a task. (Treatment: The person should be asked to complete the task rather than escape the task.)"


"The individual may engage in self-injury just prior to the social interaction; and thus, he/she may avoid the social interaction before it begins. Alternatively, the individual may engage in self-injury to escape (or terminate) a social encounter that has already begun. For example, a caretaker may ask a client to do something (e.g., to leave the play area); and if the person does not want to comply, he or she may then engage in self-injury. As a consequence, the caretaker's initial request is dropped or forgotten, and the caretaker's attention is then directed at stopping the behavior.

What to look for. In an 'avoidance' situation, the person may begin to self-injure soon after someone enters the room or approaches the person. In an 'escape' situation, the person may begin to self-injure during a social encounter. The caretaker's requests (or demands) are often abandoned soon after the person engages in self-injury.

Interventions. In this situation, it is important that the caretaker 'follows-through' with his/her requests or demands placed on the individual. If the person should engage in self-injury, the caretaker can continue to make the requests during the behavior; or the caretaker may direct his/her attention to stop the behavior but then present the request again until the individual complies."

In the school, they did allow Ayn to escape the task as long as she got violent or self injurious. This is why her behaviour was "escalating", not because of some psychiatric condition, Ayn was good in the home; psychiatric conditions do not come and go with school attendance. Please take her off these "medications", here is the list of potential side effects:

Drowsiness -- in up to 67 percent of people
An increased appetite -- up to 49 percent
Upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold -- up to 34 percent
Fatigue -- in up to 30 percent
Insomnia -- up to 26 percent (see Risperdal and Insomnia)
Agitation -- up to 26 percent
Increased salivation -- up to 22 percent
Anxiety -- up to 20 percent
Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 18 percent
Heartburn or indigestion -- up to 16 percent
Nausea -- up to 16 percent
Dizziness -- up to 16 percent.

Some of the other common side effects (occurring in 1 to 13 percent of people) included:

Constipation or diarrhea
Dry mouth (see Risperdal and Dry Mouth)
Indigestion or heartburn
An irritated or runny nose
A sore throat
Vision changes
Problems with bladder control
Muscle pain, chest pain, joint pain, or back pain
Weight gain (see Risperdal and Weight Gain)
Sinus infections
Dry skin
Confusion or decreased concentration
Sexual problems (see Risperdal Sexual Side Effects)
Vertigo (a spinning sensation)
Leg cramps
Canker sores
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Increased or decreased sweating
Hair loss (see Risperdal and Hair Loss)
High triglycerides
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Changes in the sense of taste
High cholesterol
Low levels of a certain type of white blood cell (neutropenia)
A tremor of the head.

Drowsiness -- in up to 53 percent of people
Dry mouth -- up to 44 percent of people (see Seroquel and Dry Mouth)
High triglycerides -- up to 23 percent
Weight gain -- up to 23 percent (see Seroquel and Weight Gain)
Headaches -- up to 21 percent
Agitation -- up to 20 percent
Dizziness -- up to 18 percent
High cholesterol -- up to 17 percent
Fatigue -- up to 11 percent
Weakness -- up to 10 percent
Constipation -- up to 10 percent.

Some other common side effects (occurring in 2 to 10 percent of people taking the drug) included:

Indigestion or heartburn
Increased appetite
Nasal congestion
Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
Back pain
Shakiness (tremor)
Joint pain
Sore throat
Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
Irritated or runny nose
Vision problems.

A high fever
Stiff muscles
Irregular pulse or blood pressure
An increased heart rate (tachycardia)
Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
Vertigo (a spinning sensation)
Increased or decreased sex drive (see Seroquel Sexual Side Effects)
Teeth grinding
Neck pain
Yeast infection
Increased salivation
Canker sores
Migraine headaches
Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction or ED
Dry eyes
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Low thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
Unexplained rash
Unexplained swelling
Difficulty breathing or swallowing.