Autism Reality

An Autism Question for the Hon. Stephane Dion

 

 

2007-06-05

The Hon. Stephane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition
Liberal Party of Canada

Dear Mr. Dion

An Autism Question

I am the father of two sons one of whom has classic Autism Disorder, with profound developmental delays, and I have been an autism advocate for the last eight years. This year I watched hopefully, but with no illusions, as Liberal MP Shawn Murphy of Charlottetown introduced Bill C-304, a Private Member’s bill, which would called for amendment of the Canada Health Act to provide coverage for autism treatments. As expected, Bill C-304 was defeated by the governing Conservative Party and its partner, the Bloc Quebecois. The Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party both voted, by and large, in support of Bill C-304. You personally cast a vote in support of the Bill.

Autism is a serious neurological disorder which affects 1 in 150 Canadians, including 1 in 94 male Canadians. Persons with an autism disorder can display a wide range of deficits including intellectual, communication, behavioural and social deficits. While no known cure exists, a treatment which has been empirically demonstrated in hundreds of studies to decrease the negative autism deficits, and in some cases virtually eliminate, these deficits exists. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) has been demonstrated to improve the abilities in all these areas and improve the quality of life of autistic persons in hundreds of studies. Effective, early and intensive intervention with ABA, in addition to being effective in treating autistic children, has also been shown to save governments very substantial sums of money in provision of government services over the life of an autistic person.

Despite these facts, governments in Canada have an atrocious record in dealing with the Autism Crisis which confronts Canada and in helping these very vulnerable people. In British Columbia and Ontario governing parties reversed election campaign promises to provide medicare coverage for autism choosing instead to spend hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars to fight in court the parents of autistic children they had pledged to help. Mr. Dion I hope that you will not follow these shameful precedents, I hope you will not forget your vote in support of Bill C-304.

Mr. Dion, will you tell me, and other parents and caregivers of autistic children and persons, if the Liberal Party of Canada will, once elected, introduce legislation in the first year of your taking office as Prime Minister, to include autism treatment in medicare for all Canadians with autism regardless of residence and regardless of income?

Respectfully,

Harold L Doherty
Fredericton
New Brunswick

Advertisements

June 10, 2007 Posted by | advocacy, applied behaviour analysis, auitsm disorder, autism advocacy, autism treatment, Bill C-304, Canada Health Act, Liberal Party, Stephane Dion | Leave a comment

Family With ONLY 3 Children With Autism

Unlike the Kirton’s of Utah who have six children, all with an Autism Disorder diagnosis, Randy and Lynn Gaston have ONLY 3 children, triplets, with autism. The Washington Post, in an article by Susan Deford examines the realities of family life for this family with triple the challenges, and impacts on family life, of having a child with autism.

No Group Discount For Autism Care

Now even mundane details of the daily routine are carefully orchestrated, driven by the boys’ need for sameness: identical sheets on their beds, baths in the same order every night, the same kind of pizza from the same kind of box.

The Gastons rarely go out as a couple; it’s difficult to find babysitters. The family has never eaten in a restaurant together, because crowded, unfamiliar environments sometimes make the boys anxious and upset. And the couple never get a full night’s rest. Like many autistic children, the boys don’t sleep well, going to bed at 8 p.m. and often waking for the day between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

A recent attempt to go to a park came to an abrupt halt when Zachary started yelling in the car. Lynn pulled over and found the reason: Hunter had taken off his shoes and socks, disrupting his brother’s uneasy equilibrium.

The Gastons’ experience, though extreme, is shared by growing numbers of families.

http://tinyurl.com/yud37c

June 4, 2007 Posted by | auism disorder, autism, autism awareness, family, family stress | Leave a comment

UK Study Confirms ABA As Most Effective Intervention for Autism

A UK Study has confirmed, again , that Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA, is the most effective intervention method for children with autism. The study was a comparative study of different teaching interventions for children with autism in a community setting and looked at the effectiveness of the interventions on children’s intellectual, educational, adaptive behavioral functioning and family stress levels. As reported on News-Medical.Net, Children supported by Applied Behaviour Analytic (ABA) programmes made greater intellectual and educational gains than children in other intervention programmes, while Special Nursery programmes also produced gains, compared to other less time-intensive programmes. Ideological opponents of ABA , some of whom actually oppose treating or curing autism, will not be convinced but parents seeking to help their autistic children enjoy a better quality of life should understand that this recent study is preceded by hundreds of other studies demonstrating that ABA is an effective way to help their children enjoy a better quality of life.

http://www.news-medical.net/?id=25877

June 4, 2007 Posted by | Applied Behavior Analysis, autism, education | 2 Comments

One Family, Six Children with Autism, WOW

I have personally met families with more than one child with autism. I have met some with 2 autistic children and some with 3 but SIX! My son Conor is profoundly autistic and, because of his autism, our family life is affected dramatically. Every aspect of daily life including scheduling work activities and vacation have been affected. Conor requires constant 24/7 adult supervision. I can only imagine what life must be like for the Kirton’s of Utah who have been blessed with six children all of whom have an autism disorder. The Kirton’s story is featured on deseretnews.com and tells of the many challenges faced by the Kirtons in raising and caring for their six children with autism. John Kirton has had to find new employment after losing a job after missing too much work to tend to home matters. Robin Kirton made an off hand remark out of frustration about buringing down her messy home which landed the Kirtons in family court. The legal process is now winding down but the court proceedings also prompted court ordered assessments for all six children as a result of which it was discovered that two of the six had Asperger’s. The deseretnews.com article also talks about “stoppage” which is the name some geneticists give to the phenomenon which occurs when parents stop having children after having a child with autism.

John Kirton with 5 year old daughter Sarah

If the Kirtons are googling their names on the internet, or otherwise happen across this blog, I commend you for facing your challenges with determination and humor and I wish your family ” the very best ” as we say here in Atlantic Canada.

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660226195,00.html

June 3, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism challenges, autism diagnosis, family stress | 2 Comments

Hello and Welcome to Autism Reality

Conor on the Trail

Conor, My Buddy

I am starting this WordPress blog site to encourage reality based discussions of autism, autism research, causes, treatments, education, residential care and public policy. I encourage you to contact me or comment to offer your views and opinions. Profanity and harassment of anyone public or otherwise will not be permitted but open, candid, and honest dialogue will be encouraged. I expressly state my bias. My son, Conor, is autistic, profoundly autistic, and although I love HIM deeply, I do not love his autism which is a serious neurological disorder because of which Conor requires adult supervision on a 24/7 basis. Conor, and other autistic children, deserve evidence based treatment, education and … some day a cure for their autism.

June 3, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism challenges, autism diagnosis, Conor | Leave a comment

Rob Corrdry Doesn’t Buy the Autism Is Wonderful Spin

Rob Corddry of “The Daily Show isn’t buying the joy of autism spin that permeates the neurodiversity internet sites.


Actor-comedian Rob Corddry of “The Daily Show” fame, will host The Hollywood Reporter’s 36th annual Key Art Awards on June 15 at the Beverly Hilton. He recently revealed in his blog that his young nephew is diagnosed with Autism.

“My brother Nate and I went to Boston this weekend to host a benefit for local autistic children. We HATE autism. We hate everything about it. Everything. There is nothing good about autism,” says Corddry in his penned thoughts regarding the frightening affliction.

“Except for all of that math stuff. That’s pretty cool,” he quipped.

“My sister asked us to host the event because her son, our nephew, is autistic, and the kids at his school need a new playground. Their current one is full of cockroaches and fire ants,” Corddry wrote.

“Nate and I told our team of publicists to accept the invitation…we hate autism that much.”

Corddry uses his humor to make his point: The heaviness of having a loved one diagnosed with the neurological disorder can be processed just a bit easier with a dose of positive attitude and proactive stance to learn as much as you can to fight back.

“Nate and I were in for a huge surprise. Who knew that autistic kids were such big Daily Show fans?”

Corddry talks openly about his four-year-old, autistic nephew Owen: “We have some history. Ours has been a slightly rocky relationship. You see, a few years ago, my millionaire father died, leaving Owen his entire fortune and me an old convertible. So I kidnapped Owen and took him to Vegas where I put him to work counting cards,” Corddry jokes.

Corddry and his brother Nate were successful in raising needed funds. “Nate truly found a second calling that night, conducting an auction for autistic kids. He was auction-tastic. He was auctistic,” mused Corddry in his blog source/

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you know too well about Autism, a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime.

Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.

It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls.

Autism hampers a person’s ability communicate and navigate social structure. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive, obsessive behaviors.

http://www.autismspeaks.org/ is an excellent resource started by Suzanne and Bob Wright, whose grandson Christian was diagnosed with Autism.

Autism was first identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the same time, a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that is now known as Asperger Syndrome.

Pediatricians may initially dismiss signs of autism, thinking a child will “catch up,” and may advise parents to “wait and see.” New research shows that when parents suspect something is wrong with their child, they are usually correct.

If you have concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait: speak to your pediatrician about getting your child screened for autism.

June 1, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Key Art Awards, neurodiversity, Rob Corddry, The Daily Show | 1 Comment

Jamie McMurray Will Put Pedal to the Metal for Autism Awareness & Research in Autism Speaks 400


Autism Speaks latest autism awareness and fundraising effort, the Autism Speaks 400, is a beauty. Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and many other celebrities have pitched in to help raise autism awarness. Now the Autism Speaks 400 is set to roll and this should help push autism awareness further into public consciousness. Jamie McMurray has also stepped forward individually. His helment and firesuit this weekend will carry the autism puzzle piece design and the Crown Royal folks will be repainting the No. 26 Ford Fusion Jamie will be driving to carry the puzzle piece design. Autism is a serious neurological disorder but it will help everyone to have some fun this weekend as Jamie and the other drivers race to bring autism awareness home and to raise funds for autism research. I know I will be cheering for the No. 26 Ford Fusion this weekend. A big thank you to Autism Speaks, Jamie McMurray, Crown Royal and VISA, which will be donating $5 from ticket purchases to autism research.


Jamie McMurray to Race Special Paint Scheme in Dover to Raise Awareness and Funds for Autism

May 31, 2007
CONCORD, N.C. – One year ago at Dover International Speedway, Jamie McMurray led 95 of the race’s closing 98 laps, only to be passed by teammate Matt Kenseth with three laps remaining. McMurray went on to finish with a season-best second place. This year, McMurray and the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion hope to be leading when the checker flag drops on the Autism Speaks 400. McMurray, who has been one of the most vocal spokesmen for autism awareness in the sport of NASCAR, hopes to bring a lot more attention to the cause this weekend with a new autism-themed paint scheme, firesuit, helmet and gloves.

“I went to Crown Royal a few weeks ago and asked them how I can do more in support of the Autism Speaks 400,” said McMurray. “I had the idea of wearing a different firesuit and helmet in the race and then auctioning them off after and have all of the funds go towards the Jamie McMurray Foundation, which supports autism research, education and families afflicted with autism. Needless to say, Crown Royal was very supportive and backed us completely.”

Crown Royal even went further and changed the look of the No. 26 Ford Fusion for this weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway. The sides, front and rear of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will be outfitted with the well-known autism puzzle piece design.

“We know how important this race is to Jamie, so we wanted to go the extra mile to help out,” said Jim Lorenz, senior brand manager, Crown Royal. “When we first started working with Jamie, it was clear how much passion he has for this cause and we want to do our part to join in the effort to raise money and awareness. After we found out the race would be entitled the Autism Speaks 400, we wanted to help Jamie in any way we could.”

Along with the special paint scheme on the No. 26 Ford Fusion, McMurray will also don a new firesuit, helmet and gloves – all of which will be outfitted with the Autism puzzle piece design. Following the race, all of these special items will be auctioned off on Speed Channel’s website (www.speedtv.com) with the proceeds going to benefit the Jamie McMurray Foundation.

Heading into this weekend, McMurray, along with a handful of NASCAR drivers, will participate in the Drive for Autism Research Golf Tournament in Wilmington, Del. The golf tournament is organized by Artie Kempner of FOX Sports, with the proceeds of the tournament being split between the foundations of McMurray and Elliott Sadler.

“It’s great to be paired up with Artie and Elliott for this week’s golf event. This golf tournament continues to grow in popularity and it raises a lot of money for autism, which is the most important part,” McMurray said.

This Sunday morning at the Dover International Speedway media center, McMurray will be presenting Autism Speaks with a charitable donation. The presentation is set to begin at 9:30am.

June 1, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Autism Speaks 400, Crown Royal, Dover International Speedway, Jamie McMurray, VISA | 3 Comments