Autism Reality

An Autism Question for the Hon. Stephane Dion




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?


Harold L Doherty
New Brunswick

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

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


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.

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