Autism Reality

National Autism Political Strategy, Dartmouth, May 26, 2007











Yesterday began early up at 5, off to gas up and then on the road to the Dartmouth Holiday Inn to meet the folks from FEAT-BC as part of their national autism strategy tour. Above, the charming ladies at the registration desk got everybody signed in and welcomed. My sister, Belinda Doherty, and Chris (aka Jim aka Bruce ) Armstrong arrive from the Valley. (Annapolis Valley), Shawn Murphy, Senator Jim Munson and Andy Scott exchange pleasantries, Andy and Jean Lewis from FEAT-BC, Denise Cameron Scott TRIES to grab a relaxing moment after a long journey but is bothered by a pesky blogger, Brian Rimpilaenan travelled from Fredericton for the event, and last but far from least, Peter Stoffer, who with Andy Scott in presenting a national autism strategy motion in the House of Commons cleans up on the door prize a beautiful piece of art by a BC First Nations artist.

It was a great day and the message we all shared was crystal clear. It is time for the autism community in Canada to GET POLITICAL. The courts have, as was noted in some of the speeches, washed their hands of Canada’s vulnerable autistic citizens. For autistic children in Canada section 15 has been turned into an empty and hollow promise by the Supreme Court of Canada decisions in Auton and Deskin-Wyneberg. Political solutions are all that is left and political solutions, as past history in BC and Ontario has shown, will not come easy, with politicians, once elected, backtracking on and backing out of their promises. For some unknown reason judges and political leaders both feel free to disregard the compelling realities, needs and challenges of Canada’s autistic children and adults.

But politics remains the only solution and there has been progress, real progress, on the national political scene. The Scott-Stoffer motion put autism in the national political consciousness. The valian effort by Shawn Murphy was defeated on the votes but it continued that growth of political consciousness, and continued the momentum towards a true national political solution to Canada’s autism crisis.

The FEAT people intend to focus on ridings where the margin of victory in the last election was 2% or less and work on electing candidates with a commitment to autism. That looks like it will achieve some good results but it is not enough. Individual MP’s do not establish laws or otherwise govern in our party based parliamentary democracy. Parties, usually under tight Prime Ministerial direction, govern in Canada. That means the autism community must help elect parties that WILL introduce legislation to include ABA, and any other evidence based treatments for autism, in Canada’s national medicare coverage scheme. As Murphy, Munson, Stoffer and Scott all noted, that can be done in Canada’s cooperative form of federalism regardess of who has primary constitutional jurisdiction over Health care.

But our political history is clear on this subject. Medicare was an idea borne of the NDP (CCF) and was put into effect by the Liberals. More recently the Bloc Quebecois and Stephen Harper’s Neo-Con Conservatives all voted unanimously against including autism treatment in medicare. Any realistic national political strategy must acknowledge these realities. And we must be candid with the autism community and with Canadians. As a dad with an autistic son my party is the Autism Party which exists only in my mind and my heart, but guides my political actions. And it tells me that the best interests of autistic Canadians will be served by electing Liberals and NDP members of parliament so that one or either or both in a minority government situation, can actually pass legislation to include autism treatment coverage in Medicare. Let’s GET POLITICAL, let’s elect a government which will include autism treatment in Medicare so that autistic Canadians wherever they live will receive effective government funded autism treatment.

Thanks to Jim Young of FEAT-NS whose province hosted this event and the folks from FEAT-BC who have done so much for the cause of autism in Canada. Special thanks too, to the politicians with consciences, Andy Scott, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy and Jim Munson, all of whom have made serious efforts to advance the cause of autism nationally.

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May 27, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, FEAT BC, Jean Lewis, Jim Munson, Jim Young, national autism strategy, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy, Stephen Harper | 1 Comment

FEAT-BC Goes Coastal, Salutes Autism Champions at Halifax Sat May 26, 2 to 5


FEAT-BC has been a leader in the autism struggle in Canada and now they are coming east to Halifax this Saturday May 26 from 2 to 5 at the Holiday Inn to salute four federal autism champions Andy Scott, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy and Jim Munson, and to meet with Maritimers to discuss development of a national autism federal election strategy. Interested in autism? Then come on out!

“FEAT BC goes coastal” tour to Halifax

Vancouver, B.C. – Jean Lewis, founding director of FEAT-BC (Families for Early Autism Treatment of BC) today announced that she and other representatives of FEAT-BC will be travelling to Halifax on Saturday, May 26th for a gathering of parents of autistic children and their supporters from across the Maritimes.

“One purpose of this event is to recognize the leadership of MPs Shawn Murphy, Andy Scott, and Peter Stoffer, as well as that of Senator Jim Munson, in the fight to get Medicare coverage for autism now,” said Lewis. “These men have distinguished themselves among Canadian parliamentarians with their dedication to curtailing this emerging health care crisis. Parents of autistic children and supporters look forward to thanking them personally.”

The principal purpose of the gathering is to organize a team of FEAT activists for deployment during the upcoming federal election in select constituencies across the Maritimes.

On the way to Halifax, stops are planned in Ottawa and Toronto for meetings with Ontario-based parent activists.

At 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 24th, a news conference will be held in the Charles Lynch Press Room on Parliament Hill.

FEAT-BC (Families for Early Autism Treatment of BC) is a not-for-profit volunteer organization of parents and professionals working towards universal access to effective, science-based treatment for all Canadians diagnosed with autism in Canada.

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For further information, contact: Jean Lewis at jean.lewis@telus.net, or telephone 604-925-4401 or 604-290-5737.

May 23, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism, FEAT, Jim Munson, national autism strategy, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy | Leave a comment

National Autism Rally – Saturday May 26 – Dartmouth NS




[L to R – Andy Scott, Jim Munson, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy]

The Supreme Court has spoken folks – twice. In Auton and Deskin-Wyneberg the Supreme Court of Canada has made it crystal clear that the equality rights provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are of no help to famlies seeking government funding for treatment of their childrens’ autism. The SCC has left only one serous option to seek such remedy – the political arena. It is time to GET POLITICAL. FEAT-BC has been a Canadian leader in the fight for treatment for autistic Canadians and they will be at the Dartmouth Holiday Inn on Saturday May 26 to explain their national autism political strategy. Let’s join this effort and fight for treatment for autistic Canadians. And let’s say thank you to federal politicians who have fought for our autistic children – Andy Scott, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy and Jim Munson. I hope to see you at the Holiday Inn. If you will attend please check out the registration info below and register before May 20.

An Invitation to join Families for Early Autism
Treatment of BC

(F.E.A.T. of BC) to say THANK YOU to:

Shawn Murphy, MP

Andy Scott, MP

Peter Stoffer, MP

Senator Jim Munson

For their dedication and commitment to improving the
lives of
Canadians affected by autism…

….AND….

To hear about F.E.A.T. of BC’s exciting plans to “go
coastal” with
our national political initiative to achieve universal
health care
coverage for EVERY Canadian affected by autism.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Holiday Inn, Harbourview

101 Wyse Rd.

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia,

B3A 1L9

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

$25.00 per person – Refreshments will be served

Please make cheques payable to:

F.E.A.T. of BC, c/o Louise Witt, 2135 – 129th St., Surrey, BC, V4A 8H6

R.S.V.P. by May 20th. to Louise Witt, email: taylorwitt@shaw. ca or
call 604-538-1370.

For local enquiries: Luigi Rocca – luiroc@gmail. com 869-5444 (B) or
382-2239 (h)

May 13, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism disorder, FEAT BC, Jim Munson, national autism strategy, Peter Stoffer, Shawn Murphy | Leave a comment

Swift action needed for autism strategy


Swift action needed for autism strategy

The following is a letter to Andy Scott, MP for Fredericton.

If at all possible, could you at some point address the House with the following:

As a member of the Canadian Forces, I have served to honour the ideals and freedoms that we all enjoy as Canadians. As a father of an autistic child, I relate to the struggles of families across Canada who are touched by autism. I respectfully ask that the government respond to the Senate recommendations regarding the autism crisis in Canada with swift action towards the implementation of a national autism strategy.

There is much to be done to address the immediate needs of autistic individuals of all ages. This is the great passion that I have to serve my provincial autism society at the federal level.

BRIAN RIMPILAINEN

Fredericton

http://www.canadaeast.com/ce2/docroot/article.php?articleID=141025

May 11, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism awareness, autism disorder, national autism strategy, senate | Leave a comment

FEAT-BC Goes Coastal!!!


FEAT-BC is coming to Atlantic Canada.

FEAT and the families involved with FEAT have actively led the fight for autism treatment and services on the legal and political fronts in Canada. Atlantic Canadians with an autistic family member, autistic persons and persons with an interest in autism are encouraged to attend this event if at all possible.

This is huge folks. This is a great opportunity to thank political leaders like Shawn Murphy, Andy Scott, Peter Stoffer and Jim Munson who have cared; who have tried to help and are still trying to help persons with autism in Canada. Let’s greet the folks from BC and show them “the very best”. Lets thank Andy, Peter, Jim and Shawn. And let’s send a clear and strong message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal Health Minister Tony Clement that their callous disregard for the health and well being of autistic Canadians will not go unchallenged.

I have already made my reservations at the Holiday Inn Dartmouth and I hope to see everyone there!!


“Families for Early Autism Treatment of BC Goes Coastal”

Vancouver……Ottawa……Toronto……Halifax

An Invitation to join Families for Early Autism Treatment of BC

(F.E.A.T. of BC) to say THANK YOU to:

Shawn Murphy, MP

Andy Scott, MP

Peter Stoffer, MP

Senator Jim Munson

For their dedication and commitment to improving the lives of
Canadians affected by autism…

….AND….

To hear about F.E.A.T. of BC’s exciting plans to “go coastal” with
our national political initiative to achieve universal health care
coverage for EVERY Canadian affected by autism.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Holiday Inn, Harbourview

101 Wyse Rd.

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia,

B3A 1L9

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

$25.00 per person – Refreshments will be served

Please make cheques payable to:

F.E.A.T. of BC, c/o Louise Witt, 2135 – 129th St., Surrey, BC, V4A 8H6

R.S.V.P. by May 20th. to Louise Witt, email: taylorwitt@shaw. ca or
call 604-538-1370.

For local enquiries: Luigi Rocca – luiroc@gmail. com 506 869-5444 (B) or
506 382-2239 (h)

*Donations are needed and welcomed! All donations will be used to
assist in F.E.A.T.’s national political initiative to achieve our
goal – universal health care coverage for EVERY Canadian affected by
autism.

Cheques should be payable to F.E.A.T. of BC, c/o the above address.

“We owe it to these families, to society and ourselves to share not
only the burden of autism, but also the collective responsibility to
act.”

– Senator Jim Munson

“The access Canadian children with autism have to the treatment they
need sould not depend on how much money their parents have, nor in
which province they live.”

– Shawn Murphy, MP

“We have the opportunity to positively change the lives of thousands
of autistic children and their families and ensure these Canadians
will achieve their potential.”

Andy Scott, MP

“In a caring and progressive Canada, children with autism have a
right to health care.”

– Peter Stoffer, MP

May 6, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism awareness, autism disorder, Canada Health Act, FEAT BC, Halifax, Jim Munson, Peter Stoffer, Rally, Shawn Murphy | Leave a comment

Autism resource centre connects families

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Autism Connections Fredericton held its official opening Monday. Above, enjoying some of what the centre has to offer during the open house are, from left: Joe Ann Kent, senior therapist with Autism Intervention Services; Christopher Arbeau, 4, who is autistic; Shanna Arbeau, Christopher’s mother; and Tamara Downey, parent and board member of Autism Connections Fredericton

By MEGHAN CUMBY

For The Daily Gleaner

Published Wednesday May 2nd, 2007
Appeared on page A6

Autism resource centre connects families

At four years old, Ryan Downey can’t speak and he still isn’t toilet-trained.

Ryan is autistic. His father, Todd Downey, is frustrated.

“Everything is so much harder,” Downey said. “Everything has to be taught 20 to 30 times… It takes (him) so much longer to learn.”

But now there is support for Fredericton-area families such as the Downeys.

Autism Connections Fredericton held its official opening Monday, though it’s been operating since October.

It’s a resource centre run by volunteer parents of children with autism to support families who are dealing with autism.

People with autism have an impaired ability to engage or communicate with others socially.

They often have unusual behavioural patterns, including short attention spans and abnormal moods. They may also have certain special abilities.

Lana Thompson, the chairperson of the Autism Connections Fredericton committee, said the centre will bring people dealing with autism together.

“I think anybody with children with handicaps needs a support system,” she said.

“That’s what a resource centre does.”

Downey, who is a member of the centre’s board, agrees.

“The biggest thing is the networking,” he said.

Downey said parents don’t always have the money for autism resources.

The centre provides up-to-date information, workshops, guest speakers, parent meetings and guidance to parents and familys so they can navigate local autism services.

It has toys specifically designed for autistic children and books for parents on how to teach their children certain things. All the services are free.

“Everyone can’t go out and buy all these books,” Downey said.

“It costs like 80 bucks (for a book), but you can check it out from there (for free).”

He said there are resources at the centre for all autistic individuals, not just children.

Fredericton MP Andy Scott was at the opening ceremony for the centre.

Scott had a private member’s motion calling for a national autism strategy passed in the House of Commons.

He said the centre is a positive development for families in the area dealing with autism.

Scott said what’s needed now is help from the federal government. He pointed out that treatments, therapies, and help for autistic children can cost upwards of $70,000 annually.

“In some provinces, there is funding for that,” Scott said.

“But it is a mish-mash across the country. That is why the federal government has to help bring all the provinces together.”

Autism Connections Fredericton is located at 66 Lincoln Rd. To contact the centre, call 450-6025.

http://www.canadaeast.com/ce2/docroot/article.php?articleID=136561

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, auitsm disorder, autism awareness, Autism Connections Fredericton, Autism Intervention Services, autism resource centre, Lana Thomson | Leave a comment

Autism in Canada – MP’s Fail Autistic Children


Published Tuesday May 1st, 2007
Appeared on page A4


MPs fail autistic children

Ottawa does occasionally take action… just not for our autistic children.

It has been over five months since the House of Commons passed a motion (by a vote of 231-45) calling on the Government of Canada to create a National Autism Strategy. M-172 from Andy Scott, Liberal M.P. for Fredericton requires the federal government to work in co-operation with the provinces and territories to establish national standards for treatment and delivery of services, study funding arrangements, create a national surveillance program, and provide more funding for health research on autism. Andy Scott along with Peter Stoffer, NDP M.P. for Sackville-Eastern Shore have both blasted the federal government for not providing funding in the 2007 budget to help families with autistic children.

It has also been over a month now that the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has released its report on the funding for the treatment of autism: “Pay now or pay later: autism families in crises.” Senator Art Eggleton will move that the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the ministers of National Revenue, Intergovernmental Affairs, Health and Finance being identified as ministers responsible for responding to the report.

With the proper support structures in place now, autistic children will have the greatest chance to reach full potential.

The cost to society for inaction will be enormous.

BRIAN RIMPILAINEN

Fredericton

http://www.canadaeast.com/ce2/docroot/article.php?articleID=135900

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism disorder, autism interventions, Autism Society Canada, Peter Stoffer, Senate Autism Report | 1 Comment

Autism Connections Fredericton Grand Opening Photos





Yesterday was the grand opening of the Connexions Autisme/Autism Connections Fredericton resource center. Premier Shawn Graham and Fredericton MP Andy Scott, along with some young helpers, did the official ribbon cutting as shown in these photos. Also shown is Lana Thomson of Autism Connections Fredericton. The place was packed and the opening lasted for two hours with opportunity to talk with a wide range of people in the Fredericton area interested in autism issues and helping autistic children. The resource centre, as the pictures show, is in the same location, side by side with Service d’Intervention Autisme/Autism Intervention Services the agency run by SLP Danielle Pelletier. Fredericton’s pre-school autistic children will be well served by Autism Intervention Services and Autism Connections efforts. Yours truly is also shown talking with Danielle.

May 1, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism awareness, autism disorder, autism interventions, autism resource center, Fredericton, Premier Shawn Graham | Leave a comment

A Fredericton Autism Father Thanks MP Andy Scott

Brian Rimpilainen is a Fredericton father of an autistic child who has been a hard working advocate on behalf of autistic persons in New Brunswick and Canada. In this letter Brian offers his appreciation to Fredericton MP Andy Scott who steered a private member’s motion through the House of Commons calling for a national autism strategy.


To MP Andy Scott and his staff, I offer my sincere thanks for all the work that has been done to raise the awareness of autism at the federal level.

I was very proud to be in attendance for the second hour of debate for motion 172. I had to wipe my teary eyes as I shared in the frustrations of other parents across Canada. I hope that the Liberal Caucus will continue in support of Andy Scott’s efforts and move the issue forward.

It does indeed look as though there will be a new federal election in the future. I hope that autism will be raised for election debate. While M-172 passed with support from both sides of the House, Bill C-304 (introduced by the MP for Charlottetown) did not. This was a disappointing outcome, considering that all Members now know of the importance and urgency of a national autism strategy.

It is to my understanding that Scott will not be running in the next election. My best wishes to his family and future endeavours.

BRIAN RIMPILAINEN

Fredericton

March 31, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism disorder, Fredericton, national autism strategy | Leave a comment

Autism Cause Loses a Champion – Andy Scott Will Not Run Again

The cause of autism in Canada is losing a champion.

Andy Scott, Liberal MP representing Fredericton in the House of Commons since 1993, has announced that he will not be running in the federal election expected to be called in the next couple of months. “Andy” as he is referred to by most in Fredericton is amongst the rarest of politicians and people, someone who actually listens, someone who actually cares. He has been notoriously accessible to the citizens of Fredericton, at times literally paying a price in personal safety for being so accessible, but remained readily available. Andy has been a champion for persons with disabilities in Canada. As an experienced and savvy federal politician he authored a private members motion, passed in the House of Commons, calling for a national autism strategy which, although by no means everything necessary to address the extraordinary challenge that autism represents in Canada, did open the door to allow further discussion and development of a national response to Canada’s autism crisis.

Thank you Andy, and the “very best” to you and your family.

Harold Doherty

March 6, 2007 Posted by | Andy Scott, autism disorder, Fredericton, national autism strategy | Leave a comment