Family Pleads With Government To Help Daughter With Special Needs

Kennedy MacDonald, a big hockey fan, is shown with her favourite mascot, Buddy the Puffin.

A St. John’s father says no programming options exist to help adults with complex special needs once they leave the school system.

Corey MacDonald’s 21-year-old daughter Kennedy has a chromosomal defect that is so rare, only one other known case exists — in Germany.

MacDonald says Kennedy, who is an avid hockey and Newfoundland Growlers fan, has needs that are similar to a toddler’s, with some added behavioural challenges. He says Kennedy has received great care over the years, but since aging out of the school system, the family’s options have dried up and his wife is now considering leaving her job to care for Kennedy full time.

The family has also been through a revolving door of personal care attendants, and while there are great programs available, Kennedy needs one-on-one supervision.

MacDonald says the Amal Youth and Family Centre, a non-profit in St. John’s, might be an option but it only provides programming to children 17 and younger. MacDonald is running out of options and says he’s at a loss for where to turn.

“The school board will not take anyone past 21. I tried to see if anyone would extend it for us because we didn’t (inquire) until she was six years of age due to her delays,” he said.

“We are still without any support. There’s no programming. I spoke with the minister of community services and social development, the education minister, other people within social services, and basically they just gave us some ideas and put it on me and my wife to figure this out.”

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