Autism Reality

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.

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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

Four Strong Autism Winds


Four strong winds that blow slowly
Seven seas that run high
All these things that don’t change come what may
Now our good times are all gone
And I’m bound for moving on
I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

Guess I’ll go out to Alberta
Weather’s good there in the Fall
Got some friends that I can go to workin’ for
Still I wish you’d change your mind
If I asked you one more time
But we’ve been thru that a hundred times or more

– Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson’s Four Strong Winds is viewed by many as Canada’s unofficial national anthem, a tale of Canadian migration to Alberta in search of work. Today Alberta continues to draw Canadians in search of work. But it is also a magnet attracting Canadian families with autistic children in search of its government funded autism treatment. In neighboring Saskatchewan meanwhile government funding for autism is virtually non-existent.

In Parliament the Scott-Stoffer private member’s motion calling for a National Autism strategy to deal with this national health crisis was passed while the Shawn Murphy bill seeking inclusion of autism treatment under medicare was defeated by the Harper Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois on spurious jurisdictional arguments. Canada would not have a national medicare system at all if this feeble rationalization was employed consistently. Indeed why do we even have a federal Health Minister, at present Tony Clement, if the federal government has no role to play in health issues? The reality is that prior to the election of the Harper Conservatives Canadians had long recognized the need for federal provincial cooperation to address health issues of national magnitude that might be beyond the ability of smaller or poorer provinces to address.

To most Canadians the hundreds of studies documenting the effectiveness of ABA in treating autism should be enough to justify extending a federal hand to ensure that Canadians do not have to move to Alberta to seek treatment for their autistic children. To most Canadians the fact that 47-50% of autistic children can be rendered indistinguishable from their peers by school age, with intensive behavioral intervention, would be enough to justify federal involvement. For most Canadians the improvement in quality of life, the increased ability to communicate, to function in society, to avoid self injurious behavior would be compelling motivations justifying an effective national autism strategy. Since Stephen Harper is Prime Minister though a different argument, one which does not rely upon empathy or compassion, must be found – studies show that autism treatment saves governments very substantial sums of money, in reduced government services, over the life of an autistic person.

How about it Mr. Harper, how about offering a real national autism strategy to address Canada’s autism crisis? You have clearly said no. Still I wish you’d change your mind, if I asked you one more time.


Autism funding drawing parents to Alberta

Last Updated: Monday, January 16, 2006 | 9:37 AM MT

CBC News

Alberta’s coverage of an intensive therapy for children with autism is prompting some families to move to the province to receive additional care for their children.

“I used to see easily a kid a month that came to Alberta for autism services,” Calgary pediatrician Dr. Neil Cooper said. “Probably it’s been 10 years that we’ve been in this office that we’ve seen kids come from other provinces, mostly because of the funding.”

The therapy – known as intensive behavioural intervention – is time consuming and expensive, but parents like Kim and Mike Stafford say it’s worth it.

The Moose Jaw couple moved to Calgary 18 months ago because Alberta’s health care system pays for the therapy, which they say has led to a big difference in their son.

When six-year-old Trey was diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder which can be accompanied by severe problems with social interactions and language, three years ago, it seemed he had retreated into his own world, his parents say.

However, since he’s been involved in intensive behavioural intervention, his progress has been remarkable, they say.

For example, although now Trey spends part of each morning spelling words, he could barely even say them a year ago, Kim Stafford said.

“Now he knows all the kids’ names in his class. He can write down the names, he can spell them. It’s really wonderful to see,” she added.

The treatment involves speech therapy, physiotherapy, music and games – between 20 to 30 hours per week. It costs around $60,000 per year.

The Saskatchewan Health Department would only pay for one hour a week, which the Staffords say was inadequate, so they moved to Alberta. Almost immediately, Trey began receiving the full 30 hours, the Staffords said.

Roger Carriere, executive director of the Saskatchewan Health Department’s community care branch, said the therapy is expensive and there are questions about its effectiveness. He also noted there are many other priorities competing for Saskatchewan’s health dollars.

May 31, 2007 Posted by | aba, Alberta, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, bloc quebecois, Canada Health Act, Conservative Party, Saskatchewan, Stephen Harper, Tony Clement | 1 Comment

Autism Induced "Excited Delirium Syndrome" ? Or Police Brutality?



A mom is suing police after her autistic son died following a struggle with police. Local police authorities, who apparently are also medical experts, stated that her son died from what they called “autism induced excited delirium syndrome” resulting in cardiac arrests. As the article indicates this purported “syndrome” is often used by police in explaining deaths of certain persons following confrontations with police. Interestingly, a 1999 Salon article on the subject points out that this medical theory was advanced by coroners. Recenlty excited delirium syndrom was cited by an official pathologist in a NB death of a man involved in a confrontation with police. A taser/excited delirium death also arose in Calgary and prompted a sudy of the connection between taser use and deaths from this purpoted syndrome. Apart from being regularly used by police coroners and pathologists to explain deaths of individuals in police custody or confrontations it is worthwile to note that “excited delirium syndrome” is not a diagnosis used in psychiatry:



“Excited delirium is not a diagnosis used in psychiatry,” says Dr. Roumen Milev of the Mood Disorders Clinic at the Providence Continuing Care Centre in Kingston, Ont.

“It does not exist as such either in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and statistical manual, or in the World Health Organization’s international classification of diseases.”

Mom sues in death of autistic son

The Monterey County Herald

Article Last Updated: 05/29/2007 01:43:36 AM PDT

RIVERSIDE (AP) — The mother of an autistic man who died after struggling with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The suit, filed in federal court last month, accuses deputies of negligence and brutality and seeks unspecified damages in the death of Raymond Lee Mitchell, 21.

Mitchell died in a hospital last July following a struggle with deputies at his Perris home. Deputies responded to the residence after his mother called 911 saying she needed authorities to pick up her son.

Sheriff’s officials contend Mitchell died from autism-induced “excited delirium syndrome,” a condition that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

His mother’s attorney rejects that claim, saying it’s a common defense among law enforcement agencies sued over in-custody deaths.

“That’s what they always say,” attorney Carl Douglas said.

Douglas believes Mitchell died of positional asphyxiation after several officers piled on top of him.

Sheriff’s spokesman Jerry Franchville said deputies are trained for encounters with people with autism, mental illness and other special needs.

Besides what authorities claim is the cause of death, he refused to release results of an investigation into matter.

http://www.montereyherald.com/ci_6011038?source=most_viewed

Some coroners say suspects are dying not from police brutality but an obscure medical disorder.

– – – – – – – – – – – –
By Christian Parenti

Sept. 29, 1999 | America’s latest cultural export to the United Kingdom isn’t some hot new software or a hip-hop single, it’s a controversial medical theory that seeks to explain why so many people die in police custody. The concept, called “excited delirium” (ED) or “in-custody death syndrome,” is being put forward by a small but vocal clique of big-city coroners. Proponents of excited delirium argue that most people who die in police custody are not the victims of police brutality, but rather victims of their own cocaine or amphetamine abuse, which can trigger this fatal condition.

Since the mid 1990s excited delirium has been floated as an explanation in several high-profile police custody deaths in the United States. But so far, the “excited delirium” debate has yet to begin in the U.K. Last week, the Royal Society of Medicine in London held a conference on “The Medical Aspects of Death in Custody” due to the record number of people (65) who died in custody last year in England and Wales.

While excited delirium was not proved as the cause of many of these deaths, in other countries, such as Canada, most of the people who died from excited delirium between 1988 and 1995 were in police custody at the time, according to one study. Medical examiners say this may just be the tip of the iceberg, but it’s hard to say for sure since nobody tracks the number of ED-related deaths that occur each year.

“You can’t prevent most of these deaths,” says Dr. Boyd Stephens, chief medical examiner for the City and County of San Francisco. This view is shared by his colleague, assistant medical examiner Dr. Steve Karch, who has just returned from addressing the conference on drugs, restraint and postural asphyxia.

“Whether or not these people [who die in custody] see the police is irrelevant. They could be seeing a seven-headed monster. They’re delirious, they get a surge of adrenaline and they die,” Karch says. He and others contend that the real cause of death is long-term amphetamine abuse, which causes heart disease and increases neurotransmitters, called Kappa 2 receptors, in the part of the brain — the lymbic amygdala — that is responsible for fear. Translation: Speed and crack make you paranoid and prone to heart attacks.

Karch says that being high and paranoid leads to erratic behavior, delirium and a heightened heart rate, often accompanied by a rise in body temperature. All of this, plus a weakened heart, can kill a person, and the police have nothing to do with it, he says.

But not everyone is so impressed by the new theory. A bevy of critics, ranging from police accountability activists, to former cops, to toxicologists and coroners, think Karch and other proponents of excited delirium have turned the causal sequence upside down.

“Most of the people who die in police custody die not from drugs or some mysterious syndrome but from police abuse,” says Van Jones, executive director of the Ella Baker Human Rights Center in San Francisco. “Officers choose to escalate confrontations and use force when dealing with disturbed and excited people.” Jones points out that many of the cases cited as prime examples of excited delirium or sudden in-custody death syndrome involve gross police misconduct and extreme violence.

The in-custody death of Aaron Williams in San Francisco, which was later attributed to excited delirium, is one such example. In 1995, Williams was chased and beaten by 12 police officers. According to press reports, he was high on drugs and “acting crazy” at the time. Once he was captured, the police twice sprayed him with pepper spray — a chemical agent that causes gagging and massive mucus production. The police then covered Williams’ face with a surgical mask and hogtied him, which consists of manacling hands and feet together behind the back. They then repeatedly kicked him in the head, according to eyewitnesses quoted in press reports. (Although the San Francisco Police Department denies this part of the account.) He was then left untended in the back of a paddy wagon with his face down. Less than an hour later, the prisoner arrived dead at the local cop shop.

http://www.salon.com/health/feature/1999/09/29/excited_delirium/index.html


Taser alone didn’t kill Geldart: pathologist

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 | 5:14 PM AT
CBC News

A temporary condition, not an electronic stun gun used by Moncton police, was likely to blame for the death of a psychiatric patient, an inquest heard Wednesday.

Kevin Geldart, 34, who had walked away from the psychiatric unit at the Moncton Hospital, died in the Right Spot bar on May 5th, 2005, after police used a Taser in a bid to subdue him.

Ken Obenson, the pathologist who examined Geldart’s body, told the inquest that in his opinion the primary cause of Geldart’s death was “excited delirium,” a condition in which a mentally ill person is acutely agitated, violent, sweating profusely and showing an insensitivity to pain.

Geldart showed many of those symptoms, according to previous testimony from four police officers who confronted him at the Right Spot Bar in Moncton. The officers used pepper spray and a Taser, an electronic stun gun, to try to subdue Geldart, who was six-feet-six inches tall, weighed more than 350 lbs., and suffered from asthma.

Obenson said that because an agitated Geldart was wrestling with police, his adrenaline level would have been high.

His potassium level would also have been high, Obsenson said, and that would have protected his heart. However, once restrained, his potassium level would have dropped, Obenson said, and that would have lead to arrthymia, an upset in the heart’s normal rhythm.

Obenson said the Taser, pepper spray and Geldart’s obesity might have been contributing factors in his death. But even if those factors had not been present, he said, the outcome still would have likely been death.

However, if the condition of excited delirium were removed, and every other factor left in place, Obenson said, Geldart likely wouldn’t have died.


‘Excited delirium’ case raises taser questions

Updated Sun. Mar. 11 2007 5:16 PM ET

Canadian Press

FREDERICTON — A New Brunswick man’s death due to a mysterious malady called excited delirium has raised more questions about police arrest techniques and the growing use of stun guns.

Kevin Geldart, 34, of Moncton, N.B., died after he was repeatedly shocked with Taser weapons by RCMP officers in 2005.

It was another in a long series of deaths in North America following the use of police force and Taser guns to control people who are described as combative, irrational and extraordinarily strong.

In most of these cases, the cause of death is difficult to pinpoint and is often attributed to cardiac arrest, drug intoxication or a combination of the two.

But a New Brunswick coroner’s inquest into Geldart’s death earlier this month ruled that the large, mentally ill man died of excited delirium _ a condition that cannot be found in medical or psychiatric text books.

“Excited delirium is not a diagnosis used in psychiatry,” says Dr. Roumen Milev of the Mood Disorders Clinic at the Providence Continuing Care Centre in Kingston, Ont.

“It does not exist as such either in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and statistical manual, or in the World Health Organization’s international classification of diseases.”

Critics say excited delirium exists purely in the imaginations of those who are anxious to defend the use of Taser weapons and excessive police force.

Eric Balaban, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, says that blaming excited delirium for in-custody deaths could be a way of whitewashing inappropriate use of force by police.

“It’s not recognized as a mental-health diagnosis,” Balaban says.

“It is really used only by medical examiners to attribute the cause of death of an arrestee following a violent scuffle with police officers.”

Whatever excited delirium may be, it is characterized by extreme agitation, incoherence, bizarre behaviour, often superhuman strength and a high body temperature.

It is associated with drug abuse and mental illness, and occurs often in people who, like Geldart, are very large. Geldart was tall and weighed at least 350 pounds.

Family members and friends of people who die during police Taser arrests are almost always unsatisfied with descriptions of the cause of death and the fact that the police are exonerated.

One of Geldart’s relatives has called for a moratorium on the use of Tasers until more is known about the effects of the weapon on people, especially on those with mental illness.

So far, 212 people in North America have died following custody struggles with Taser-wielding police officers _ at least 15 of them in Canada, where the weapon has been used since 2001.

In all cases, the stun gun has been cleared of any direct involvement in the deaths, even in cases like Geldart’s, where there were eight Taser injuries to his body and head.

“I’m not aware of any case in the world where the conductive energy weapon has been found to be the factor that caused death,” Sgt. Richard Groulx, an RCMP training and tactical weapons expert, told the New Brunswick inquest.

The Taser delivers a pulsating, 50,000-volt electrical current through the body, and police say it can pierce clothing four centimetres thick.

The shock, which lasts up to five seconds, locks muscles instantly and overrides the central nervous system.

Dr. Deborah Mash, professor of neurology at the University of Miami and a leading expert in North America on excited delirium, says the ultimate goal of her research is to establish a protocol so police know how to handle people exhibiting signs of the condition.

Mash says excited delirium is a real brain disorder.

“There are clearly neuro-chemical changes in the brain,” she says. “There is a defect. The issue of police brutality is simply wrong. That’s not to say it can’t occur, but when the police are confronted by someone exhibiting superhuman strength like a Hulk Hogan … what can they do?”

Mash says the phenomenon came to light in the 1980s, when crack cocaine first burst onto the Florida drug scene.

She says many victims have cocaine or drugs in their systems, although mentally ill people like Geldart, who was bipolar, are also susceptible.

“It doesn’t have to be drug-related,” she says. “There are a number of triggers that will pop the switch.”

Mash says no one knows the best intervention techniques for police when confronted by an individual in the throes of excited delirium.

She says she hopes a standard of practice can be developed.

She also says research may ultimately unlock a clear diagnosis of the disorder, so victims can be identified before they run into trouble.

“Thanks to advances in molecular biology, we have an opportunity to look for the first time for real diagnostic markers, and that’s what we need,” Mash says.

http://tinyurl.com/383x8c

http://tinyurl.com/2oxgl3

Link between excited delirium, Taser deaths to be studied

Calgary Herald

Saturday, January 14, 2006

CALGARY — A Calgary physician is leading a national study to see whether a medical condition that causes violent behavior and superhuman strength can turn deadly when police Taser or pepper- spray suspects.

Dr. Christine Hall is undertaking a three-year analysis of subjects who die in police custody and what role the little-understood disorder, known as excited delirium, may play.

The condition, while not universally recognized by the medical establishment, has been linked to the deaths of several police suspects, including cases in which detainees died after being Tasered or pepper-sprayed.

“We think there’s something systematically different from the people who die in custody than the people who don’t,” said Hall, an emergency room doctor and epidemiologist.

The study will also examine any association between police use of pepper spray or stun guns and custody deaths.

Hall’s research, which must still be approved by an ethics review board, follows the Christmas Eve death of a man who was Tasered by Edmonton police after he went into a fit of rage at an intersection.

The Tasers can deliver a 50,000-volt shock to temporarily immobilize a suspect and have been the subject of heated debate in recent years.

While supporters argue they are less lethal than other weapons, groups like Amnesty International blame the stun guns for dozens of police custody deaths in North America.

Hall’s research, which has received $1.5 million in funding from the Canadian Police Research Centre, could begin as early as this summer, pending approval from an ethics committee.

She hopes the study will unravel some of the mysteries surrounding excited delirium, a disorder that hasn’t been studied extensively.

The condition appears to strike men who are mentally ill or high on drugs.

People suspected of having excited delirium are often agitated, violent, hot to the touch and don’t feel pain at all, Hall said.

Hall will work with 11 police forces around the country to collect reports on all suspects who physically resist arrest, comparing the data to reports on suspects who die in custody.

The study will examine whether the suspects exhibited signs of excited delirium and what forms of restraint, such as Tasers, police used in the cases.

“We have to figure out if there’s a way to know who the people at risk are,” said Hall.

Since the devices came into use in Calgary last October, police officers there have used Tasers 37 times on suspects without any serious ill effects, according to Staff Sgt. Kevin de Villenfagne of the Calgary Police Service.

He said the move to study excited delirium and its relationship to Tasers is helpful for police.

“Anytime we can do research to determine the validity of the tools we’re using to ensure we’re doing the best with the tools we have, that’s a good thing,” he said.
__________________
Brian Hill
Training is not an expense, it is an investment. “

http://www.theppsc.org/forums/showthread.php?t=423

May 30, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, excited delirium syndrome, law enforcement, tasers | 1 Comment

Autism Advocacy – FEAT BC Makes A Big Splash on the East Coast


The people from FEAT BC put a lot on the line with this tour. They invested money, sweat, credibility and time, including precious time away from their families, to make this trip across Canada and out to the East Coast to fuel a national effort to get autism covered by medicare. They did not come in to preach to the locals though. They came to talk and encourage all of us to get together and GET POLITICAL. If you are a Canadian parent seeking medical treatment for your autistic loved one NOW is the time to get involved. You can contact Jean Lewis via email at jean.lewis@telus.net. Or you can reach me at dohertylaw@rogers.com. NOW is the time not tomorrow.

If you are a member of a local or provincial autism group which receives government funding to operate they may discourage you from getting involved. Don’t let them discourage you. Act for your child and get involved. Feel free to contact Jean Lewis or me. Other contacts will also be provided soon. Contact your Member of Parliament and ask him or her to support autism coverage in Medicare. Just call them, write them or email them and let them know that is what you want. There is no need to debate them unless you want to do so but they know the need and they know effective treatment is available. Make your MP or anyone seeking to become your MP know that your vote depends on them making a commitment to include autism treatment in medicare coverage. NOW is the time to get involved, and GET POLITICAL.



Group pushes for autism funding
B.C. organization wants Ottawa to set standard for treatment

By MELANIE PATTEN The Canadian Press

A British Columbia-based group pushing to have costly treatments for autistic children covered under medicare has brought its fight to the East Coast.

Representatives from Families for Early Autism Treatment of B.C. met with dozens of parents and their autistic children in Dartmouth as part of a cross-country tour.

The non-profit organization has been calling on Ottawa to work with provincial and territorial governments to set a national standard for autism treatment.

The group also wants intensive therapy, known as applied behaviour analysis, covered for all Canadian children regardless of where they live or their family’s income.

“This is a health-care issue; this is science-based, effective treatment,” said Jean Lewis, a founding director of the group.

“It needs to be funded through health care so that it doesn’t matter if you live in British Columbia or Newfoundland, your health care is looked after in the same way as everyone else’s.”

The treatment, which can include one-on-one time with a trained professional, can cost up to $60,000 a year.

Without a national standard, coverage for autism treatment differs across the country. In Prince Edward Island, for example, coverage is assessed by income.

“That’s not the way they deal with a cancer patient, that’s not the way they deal with a cardiac problem,” said Shawn Murphy, the Liberal MP for Charlottetown. “And that’s not the way they should deal with this particular issue.”

Murphy said Ottawa has agreed to meet with the provincial and territorial governments by the end of the year to create a strategy.

Both levels of government will have to pitch in funding for treatment, support and diagnosis, said Murphy, who was recognized by the association for his public support for a national autism framework.

New Brunswick Liberal MP Andy Scott, Nova Scotia New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer, and Liberal Senator Jim Munson, were also recognized.

Jeff Reeves of Charlottetown, whose five-year-old son Owen has autism, attended the event to push Ottawa to provide more funding for autistic children.

Reeves said his son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. He said Owen finally began treatment after sitting on a waiting list for nearly 18 months.

“Owen is very intelligent, but it’s his social interaction . . . eye contact, how to play with kids correctly,” said Reeves, 33, who is married and works in the IT industry.

“He’s made strides that we can’t believe . . . but if he would have gotten (treatment) at three, he could have been much further ahead.”

Owen’s treatment costs more than $10,000 a year, and Reeves said the province covers about 60 per cent. The family also pays for supplemental treatment out-of-pocket.

“The federal government has to do something about the funding for (the treatment),” said Reeves.

“The earlier they intervene, the better off these kids will be.

“If they leave them until they’re 18, 20 years old, they’re going to become drains on the system.”

Calgary Sun, May 27, 2007

B.C. autism group tours the nation

UPDATED: 2007-05-27 01:14:36 MST

Push for early treatment takes group to East Coast

By CP

DARTMOUTH, N.S. — A B.C.-based group pushing to have costly treatments for autistic children covered under medicare took its fight to the East Coast yesterday.

Representatives from Families for Early Autism Treatment of B.C. met with dozens of parents and their autistic children in Dartmouth, N.S., as part of a cross-country tour.

The non-profit organization has been calling on Ottawa to work with provincial and territorial governments to set a national standard for autism treatment.

The group also wants intensive therapy, known as applied behaviour analysis, covered for all Canadian children regardless of where they live or their family’s income.

“This is a health-care issue; this is science-based, effective treatment,” said Jean Lewis, a founding director of the group.

“It needs to be funded through health care so that it doesn’t matter if you live in British Columbia or Newfoundland, your health care is looked after in the same way as everyone else’s.”

The treatment, which can include one-on-one time with a trained professional, can cost up to $60,000 a year.

Without a national standard, coverage for autism treatment differs across the country.

In Prince Edward Island, for example, coverage is assessed by income.

“That’s not the way they deal with a cancer patient, that’s not the way they deal with a cardiac problem,” said Shawn Murphy, the Liberal MP for Charlottetown. “And that’s not the way they should deal with this issue.”

Murphy said Ottawa has agreed to meet with the provincial and territorial governments by the end of the year to create a strategy.

http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/National/2007/05/27/4211713-sun.html

May 27, 2007 Posted by | autism advocacy, autism disorder, Canada Health Act, FEAT BC, Jean Lewis | Leave a comment

Autism Youth and Adult Residential Care & Treatment Still Abysmal in New Brunswick



In October 2005 the Toronto Star reported on the case of a New Brunswick autistic youth who was being housed by the Province of New Brunswick on the gounds of a youth correctional facility. The youth had committed no crime. The state of New Brunswick’s youth and adult residential care and treatment facilities was so bad, virtually non-existent for those with more severe and challenging autism disorder, that the province felt it was the only place that could accommodate the youth while they waited for his admission to a facility in the United States. The Toronto Star article follows this comment. Unfortunately, as the letter from Stephen Robbins posted here a couple of days ago indicates things have not improved any since then. In New Brunswick we must still export our autistic youths and adults out of the country for decent residential care and treatment.

From a personal perspective this issue weighs heavily on my mind. My son Conor was 9 at the time of the first story. He is now 11 and nearing the age of the two youths in these stories. In the meantime youth and adult residential care and treatment in New Brunswick have not moved a single steop forward. The bureaucracy does what the bureaucracy always does. It delays, it denies that problems exist, it worries about the careers of its members and whether they might be embarassed but it takes no significant action on critical issues affecting some of New Brunswick’s vulnerable members.

Autistic boy kept in New Brunswick jail

No other place for him to stay 13-year-old must go to U.S. hospitalNo other place for him to stay

13-year-old must go to U.S. hospital

The Toronto Star, KELLY TOUGHILL, ATLANTIC CANADA BUREAU, Oct. 19, 2005

HALIFAX—A 13-year-old autistic boy now living in a New Brunswick jail compound will be sent out of Canada because there is no home, hospital or institution that can handle him in his own province.

Provincial officials confirmed yesterday the boy is living in a visitor’s apartment at the Miramichi Youth Centre and will be moved to a treatment centre in Maine by November.

They stressed he is not under lock and key, has no contact with other inmates and is living outside the high wire fence that surrounds the youth detention centre.

Nevertheless, the jailhouse placement and the transfer to Maine have outraged mental health advocates and opposition critics.

“They put this boy in a criminal facility because he is autistic,” said Harold Doherty, a board member of the Autism Society of New Brunswick.

“Now we are exporting our children because we can’t care for them. This is Canada, not a Third World country.

“We are supposed to have a decent standard of care for the sick and the vulnerable, but we don’t.”

Liberal MLA John Foran echoed his concern. “This boy has done nothing wrong, is not the subject of any court order, but is in a penal institution.”

Provincial officials yesterday insisted critics are misrepresenting the nature of the boy’s situation and that in fact the province has done everything it can to help him.

“This individual is not being held, and is not incarcerated,” said Lori-Jean Johnson, spokeswoman for the family and community services department.

“He has housekeeping, bath and a separate entrance. We are just utilizing existing resources.”

Privacy laws prevent officials from discussing anything that would reveal the boy’s identity, including details of his previous living situation and the whereabouts of his parents.

This much is known: He suffers from a severe form of autism and is a ward of the state, under the guardianship of the minister of family and community services. He was living in a group home until recently, but became so violent that he was judged a danger to himself and others. At a psychologist’s recommendation, he was moved to a three-bedroom apartment on the grounds of the Miramichi Youth Centre, a prison for about 50 young offenders. Two attendants from a private company watch the boy around the clock, at a cost to taxpayers of $700 a day.

Johnson said she does not know any details of his care.

Doherty said the jailhouse placement and move to Maine highlight the desperate need for better services for autistic children in New Brunswick and across Canada.

He said staff at most group homes in New Brunswick aren’t trained to deal with autism and don’t understand the disorder.

“If you don’t understand autism, things can become very bad very quickly,” said Doherty, who has a 9-year-old son with the disorder.

“We have been pushing for (better facilities) in New Brunswick for several years. This is not a crisis that has popped up in the last two days. Residential care is a critical element for these people and it is not being provided.”

Johnson said the provincial system of group homes and institutions that care for children and adults with psychiatric disorders and mental disabilities works for most people.

“We do have existing resources, but once in a while, there will be an exception. Here, we are looking at a very extreme case.”

The boy will be moved to an Augusta, Me., treatment centre at the end of the month, said Johnson.

The centre, run by a non-profit group called Spurwink, specializes in dealing with autistic adolescents.

A Spurwink representative did not return a phone call from the Toronto Star.

Provincial officials could not detail the cost to keep the child at Spurwink, nor did they have information about why he’s being sent to Maine, rather than a Canadian facility in another province. “

….

Keep autistic children in the province

Daily Gleaner (Fredericton NB)

Published Wednesday May 23rd, 2007
Appeared on page C7

This is a letter to Premier Shawn Graham.

I am a father of a 13-year-old autistic boy. We had to fight for services for our son from the day he was born: to get diagnosed, to get Applied Behavioural Analysis therapy (before it was mandatory), to get teacher’s aides in the classroom, to keep him in school, and to get hospital treatment when his compulsion to bite and pinch got to the point where he was covered in wounds and bruises.

I am afraid my wife and I do not have much fight left in us these days. Our son has lived under constant supervision 24 hours a day for the last year. Two workers stay in our home with him during the day (two are needed to restrain him during his rages). While we commend them for all they have done, the workers are merely a Band-Aid solution.

Our only option at this point is to send our son out of country to the U.S. for treatment that he desperately needs.

Services at the two facilities, in Maine or Boston, will cost the government $200,000 to $300,000 a year. Right now my son is costing the government $15,000 to $20,000 a month because of the government’s lack of direction when it comes to older autistic children.

My question to you, Mr. Graham, is that it may have been cost effective at one time to send these children away (out of sight, out of mind). But now with it being 1 in 150 children being diagnosed within the autism spectrum disorder, maybe we should re-evaluate the direction our province is going in.

I realize that there may be no other recourse for my son but to be sent to these facilities in the U.S. for treatment.

I hope in the future we may be able to prevent our children from having to leave Canada to get the services they so desperately need.

Stephen Robbins

Woodstock, N.B.

May 25, 2007 Posted by | adult autism, autism disorder, autism residential care, Autism Society New Brunswick, autism treatment, Spurwink | 3 Comments

Autism Plea – Keep Our Autistic Children Home in New Brunswick



Daily Gleaner (Fredericton NB)

Published Wednesday May 23rd, 2007
Appeared on page C7


Keep autistic children in the province

This is a letter to Premier Shawn Graham.

I am a father of a 13-year-old autistic boy. We had to fight for services for our son from the day he was born: to get diagnosed, to get Applied Behavioural Analysis therapy (before it was mandatory), to get teacher’s aides in the classroom, to keep him in school, and to get hospital treatment when his compulsion to bite and pinch got to the point where he was covered in wounds and bruises.

I am afraid my wife and I do not have much fight left in us these days. Our son has lived under constant supervision 24 hours a day for the last year. Two workers stay in our home with him during the day (two are needed to restrain him during his rages). While we commend them for all they have done, the workers are merely a Band-Aid solution.

Our only option at this point is to send our son out of country to the U.S. for treatment that he desperately needs.

Services at the two facilities, in Maine or Boston, will cost the government $200,000 to $300,000 a year. Right now my son is costing the government $15,000 to $20,000 a month because of the government’s lack of direction when it comes to older autistic children.

My question to you, Mr. Graham, is that it may have been cost effective at one time to send these children away (out of sight, out of mind). But now with it being 1 in 150 children being diagnosed within the autism spectrum disorder, maybe we should re-evaluate the direction our province is going in.

I realize that there may be no other recourse for my son but to be sent to these facilities in the U.S. for treatment.

I hope in the future we may be able to prevent our children from having to leave Canada to get the services they so desperately need.

Stephen Robbins

Woodstock, N.B.

May 23, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, autism treatment, New Brunswick | Leave a comment

Autism & ABA, For Conor It All Adds Up




I have commented previously about how ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis, has been such a positive and effective means of communicating with Conor, teaching him to communicate, teaching him to read, and controlling and reducing problem behavior, notwithstanding the challenges that remain. By problem behavior I mean self aggression and self injurious behavior as well as property damage and aggression to others. Another area of skill development for Conor has been math. Conor loves his numbers and he is learning and loves to demonstrate his math skills as shown in these pictures. The pictures on this comment show skills, including patience and task accomplishment, in addition to adding things up correctly, that would have been unimaginable prior to ABA. If parents with newly diagnosed children do not wish to believe the hundreds of studies documenting the effectiveness of ABA as an intervention for autistic children then take a look at these pictures. This is not a “robotic” child being forced to perform by an abusive methodology. This is my son relaxing on the holiday and enjoying a past time. If you think he has been been deprived of his personality because of exposure to ABA look at the pictures of my laughing joyous son on this blog site. He has an infectious personality and he has been loved by many therapists who have worked with him and other people who meet him in our daily lives.

Do not listen to the ideologues who oppose ABA and minimize the wealth of professional literature supporting its effectiveness. And do not listen to them when they say ABA deprives children of their personalities. There is no professional literature to support these allegations and the experiences of too many autistic children and their families say otherwise. Michelle Dawson, Laurent Mottron, Jim Sinclair and other anti-ABA ideologues do not speak for my son. He speaks for himself. And when it comes to ABA Conor can add it all up for himself as he does in these pictures. In his actions, in his exercise of skills he has learned, in his joyful demeanor, Conor speaks for himself and he puts the boot to these tired anti-ABA careerists.

May 21, 2007 Posted by | Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, autism interventions, Conor Doherty, Jim Sinclair, Laurnet Mottron, Michelle Dawson, neurodiversity | 2 Comments

Autism Research Ethics – Is It Ethical to Deny ABA to Autistic Infants for Research Purposes?

The AP is reporting several new autism research projects aimed at studying early clues of autism and other disorders. One such study mentioned is by Dr. Stanley Greenspan which, according to the AP report, will involve two groups of infants – One group will receive intensive behavior training, the other will not; both will be compared through age 5. But is it ethical to deny ABA intervention to infants who are diagnosed or suspected to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder for research purposes?

An opinion peace in the Medical Journal of Australia Children with autism deserve evidence-based intervention The evidence for behavioural therapy MJA Vol 178 5 May 2003 424, Jennifer J Couper Head, Endocrinology and Diabetes Centre, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, and University of Adelaide, SA and Amanda J Sampson Ultrasonologist Royal Women’s Hospital, Carlton, VIC reviewed the impressive body of research that existed in 2003 in support of the effectiveness of ABA as an autism treatment. The authors noted “that while ineffective therapies may be harmless, they waste parents’ money and the child’s valuable therapy time. Furthermore, the delay in implementing effective treatment may compromise the child’s outcome.“.

Since the MJA editorial piece there have been more studies confirming the efficacy of ABA as an autism intervention or treatment. How can a study which denies ABA treatment to autistic infants during the critical 2-5 year age period meet ethical standards in light of ABA’s demonstrated evidence based effectiveness in treating autism? As Couper and Sampson noted ineffective therapies waste parents’ money and valuable therapy time. Hopefully, at the very least the parents of infants in the control group, the infants not receiving ABA, have been informed that there are literally hundreds of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of ABA as an autism intervention. Hopefully they will have been told before agreeing to deny ABA treatment to their children that state, academic and professional bodies around the world have consistently concluded that ABA stands alone as the most solidly supported, evidence based treatment for autism to this day.


RESEARCH ON AUTISM IN INFANTS

Associated Press
Article Launched: 05/21/2007 01:31:53 AM PDT

AUTISM AND INFANTS

Research on identifying early clues of autism and other disorders and testing treatments is booming. Here are some of the doctors and researchers involved:

Dr. Fred Volkmar at Yale University is studying potential ways to diagnose autism in the first months of life, including whether looking at objects rather than people is a sign. “I think we’re on the verge of being able to do a much better job” of diagnosing autism in infancy, Volkmar said.

Researcher Stephen Porges at the University of Illinois at Chicago is starting a five-year study of whether excessive crying past 6 months of age might be an early sign of autism, attention deficit or other behavioral problems.

Dr. Stanley Greenspan, a psychiatry professor at George Washington University, is launching a multimillion-dollar study involving parents and babies at risk for autism or attention deficit disorder. One group will receive intensive behavior training, the other will not; both will be compared through age 5.

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_5946767

May 21, 2007 Posted by | Amanda J Sampson, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, autism ethics, autism research, Dr. Stanley Greenspan, evidence based interventions, Jennifer J Couper | 3 Comments

Autism Symposium Cancelled – Harper’s Book of Dirty Tricks Page 2

The Harper Conservative government strategy to address the Autism health crisis in Canada is beyond pathetic; it is wretched. It is nothing more than a ploy from the now infamous Conservative Party Book of Dirty Tricks.

The Harper Conservatives’ autism strategy was announced in November 2006 by Health Minister Tony Clement and consisted of a web page and a stakeholder symposium to be held in 2007. Yes there were other elements – sort of. A research chair was mentioned – sort of. The Harper conservatives pledged to begin exploring the establishment of a research chair focusing on effective treatment and intervention for ASD. They also pledged to launch a consultation process on the feasibility of developing an ASD surveillance program through the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to help shape appropriate ASD programming and research. I wonder which generation of Canadians will be around to see whether an ASD surveillance program, whatever that is, is determined to be feasible?

Of course there is the pledge to address Canada’s autism health crisis by designating a bureaucracy within a bureacracy, the pledge to designate the Health Policy Branch of Health Canada as the ASD lead for actions related to ASD at the Federal Health Portfolio level. Health Canada itself of course is the federal government Department charged with responsibility over health matters which the Harper Conservatives tell us [ignoring the development over decades of cooperative federalism] is a matter entirely within provincial constitutional jurisdiction. Gee, the policy branch of the federal department responsible for a matter which the Conservatives claim is entirely within provincial jurisdiction will be designated as the lead branch of that department for actions related to ASD at the federal level. WOW!!

Then there is the autism web site promised by Health Minister Clement. Personally I believe it to be the least informative autism site on the internet. But that may be a bit harsh. There may be autism web sites that are still “under construction” and actually say nothing at all. Judge for yourself:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dc-ma/autism/index_e.html

Then there is the “stakeholders” symposium promised to be held in 2007. As one who has been an autism activist for the last 8 years in New Brunswick I recoil at the use of the word “stakeholder”. It sounds like a property interest in a commercial transaction. I am an autism activist because of my profoundly autistic son. He, with his brother, are the joys of our life but they are not “stakes” in a poker game. And government typically defines the stakeholder concept broadly to include any group that might be useful in pushing the government’s own agenda. Careful selection of a few stakeholder groups for government funding and support invariably results in useful tools for creating division and weakness in the disability community whose issues are being addressed, allowing government to divide, delay and deny provision of necessary services.

I was asked by the Autism Society New Brunswick to participate as the ASNB representative at the autism stakeholders symposium which was scheduled to take place mid-June 2007 in Ottawa. I contacted the Canadian Institute for Health Research to register for the event and was told that the federal government wanted the Autism Society Canada, the federal organization of which ANSB is a member, to forward the names of participants for the autism symposium. Thus the provincial body, the ASNB, could not forward names directly of representatives for a national symposium to address an issue which, according to Stephen Harper, Tony Clement and Edmonton area MP Mike “Bigfoot” Lake [Conservative Party autism spokesman and Autism Dad]is entirely within provincial jurisdiction. The Autism Society Canada put my name forward at the request of ASNB and I waited to receive my invitation. I had been told the invitations would be sent out two weeks ago. When I followed up last week I was informed by CIHR that the symposium was being discussed at a more senior level and that so many names were put forward that it was necessary to arrange a new larger location. In the meantime I had become aware that prominent, no nonsense autism activists like Andrew Kavchak in Ottawa and the FEAT-BC folks had also been put forward as participants in the national autism stakeholders symposium. Last week it was formally announced that the symposium was “postponed” to an unspecified date in the fall.

I do not believe the excuse that the Government of Canada could not find a large enough room to accommodate a national symposium of autism representatives by mid-June. The federal government is THE consumer of services for such activities in the National Capital Region and has a lot of purchasing/bargaining power. There is a substantial industry in the region which thrives on hosting such events and the capacity has been developed for these purposes. The federal government itself owns a good chunk of the national capital real estate and surely has the facility to itself host a symposium.

The Harper Conservative government became increasingly aware that activists such as yours truly, Andrew Kavchak, some FEAT-BC reps, and some of the family members involved in the Auton and Deskin-Wynberg autism cases were coming to Ottawa to participate in the national autism symposium and they wanted no part of it. That is the more plausible explanation for the postponement/cancellation of the symposium. The whole national autism “strategy” could have been lifted from page 1 of the Harper Book of Dirty Tricks recently exposed and which directs Conservative MP’s to to obstruct the progress of parliamentary committees, including stacking such commitee proceedings with witnesses who would support the Harper Conservatives’ agenda. The page was turned to page 2 when the only pledge of any merit, the national autism stakeholders symposium was “postponed” until the fall of 2007. IF the symposium does proceed in the fall you can be sure that every effort will be made by the party of Harper and Clement to ensure that the voices of serious autism activists will not be present and will not be heard. As dictated in Harper’s Book of Dirty Tricks only sponsored, docile autism representatives supportive of the Conservative Party agenda will be invited. … Continued on Page 3, Harper’s Book of Dirty Tricks.

May 20, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Autism Society Canada, Autism Society New Brunswick, CIHR, Dirty Tricks, FEAT, national autim strategy, Prime Minister Harper, Tony Clement | Leave a comment