Autism Reality

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

Politics Blocs Help for Autism – Quebec



The motion by Charlottetown Liberal MP Shawn Murphy which would have amended the Canada Health Act to ensure funding for ABA treatment for autism was defeated by an alliance between the Harper Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois. Mr. Harper and his Autism Front Man, Edmonton area MP Mike Lake, a father of an autistic child, argued that such an amendment would have constituted an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. The Bloc in order to justify its existence in a federal parliament must be seen as fighting federalist intrusions into any aspect of Quebec life. But what did it cost Quebec children with autism for Quebec’s purported separatists to grandstand and obstruct in the name of political ideology? Are Quebec children with autism different than children with autism outside Quebec? Is the Quebec government so wealthy that all autistic children are fully funded for effective ABA treatment?

The answer to both of these questions is “No” as the following excerpt from the CASLPA Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists presentation to the Canadian Senate makes clear:

Quebec

The standard of care for ASD in Quebec is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), but given that ABA is an intensive, one-on-one program involving roughly 20 hours of therapy a week, the province does not have sufficient resources to provide every autistic child with ABA when the treatment is needed.

In Quebec, the waiting list for ABA can be anywhere from six months to a year after diagnosis. This is challenging for hospital staff as speech-language pathologists are there to assist with the diagnosis but there is not any on-going mandate to provide treatment. Frustration with ABA waiting lists has caused speech-language pathologists and psychiatrists to seek out more cost-effective therapeutic alternatives, such as intervention programs that are designed to help parents support language development in their autistic children.

http://www.caslpa.ca/PDF/SenateCommittee_bried_nov2006.pdf

Unfortunately for Quebec’s autistic children politics Bloc’d a serious effort to provide funding for the effective ABA treatment their parents seek on their behalf.

March 25, 2007 Posted by | aba, applied behavioral analysis, autism disorder, bloc quebecois, Canada Health Act, Gilles Duceppe, Mike Lake, Stephen Harper | Leave a comment

Bill C-304 Defeated, Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois Spurn Help for Autistic Children

Bill C-304, the private member’s motion brought by Charlottetown Liberal MP Shawn Murphy was defeated by the Harper Conservative-Bloc Quebecois coalition party in the House of Commons today. The Bloc and Conservatives spurned this attempt to seriously address the plight of autistic children in Canada today. Amongst those who stood firm against help autistic children were New Brunswick Conservatives Rob Moore (Fundy Royal), Greg Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest) and Mike Allen (Tobique-Mactaquac). Well done gentlemen, you may have abandoned the autistic children of your ridings but you stood proudly for your party above all. And what could be more important?

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES DU CANADA
39e LÉGISLATURE, 1re SESSION
Journals

No. 115 (Unrevised)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
1:00 p.m.

Journaux

No 115 (Non révisé)

Le mercredi 21 février 2007
13 heures

Private Members’ Business
Affaires émanant des députés

Pursuant to Standing Order 93(1), the House proceeded to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of Mr. Murphy (Charlottetown), seconded by Mr. Szabo (Mississauga South), — That Bill C-304, An Act to provide for the development of a national strategy for the treatment of autism and to amend the Canada Health Act, be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

Conformément à l’article 93(1) du Règlement, la Chambre procède au vote par appel nominal différé sur la motion de M. Murphy (Charlottetown), appuyé par M. Szabo (Mississauga-Sud), — Que le projet de loi C-304, Loi prévoyant l’élaboration d’une stratégie nationale pour le traitement de l’autisme et modifiant la Loi canadienne sur la santé, soit maintenant lu une deuxième fois et renvoyé au Comité permanent de la santé.

The question was put on the motion and it was negatived on the following division:

La motion, mise aux voix, est rejetée par le vote suivant :

(Division No. 122 — Vote no 122)

YEAS: 113, NAYS: 155

POUR : 113, CONTRE : 155

YEAS — POUR
Alghabra
Angus
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barnes
Beaumier
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Black
Blaikie
Bonin
Boshcoff
Brison
Brown (Oakville)
Cannis
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cuzner
D’Amours
Davies
Dhaliwal
Dion
Dryden
Easter
Eyking
Folco
Fry
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Holland
Ignatieff
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
LeBlanc
Lee
MacAulay
Malhi
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Merasty
Minna
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nash
Neville
Owen
Pacetti
Patry
Pearson
Peterson
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Robillard
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St. Amand
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed
Total: — 113

NAYS — CONTRE
Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Bachand
Baird
Batters
Bellavance
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blais
Bonsant
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casey
Casson
Chong
Cummins
Davidson
Day
DeBellefeuille
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Faille
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Freeman
Galipeau
Gallant
Gaudet
Gauthier
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Gravel
Grewal
Guay
Guergis
Guimond
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret’s)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Komarnicki
Kotto
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laframboise
Lake
Lauzon
Lavallée
Lemay
Lemieux
Lessard
Lévesque
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
Lussier
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nadeau
Nicholson
Norlock
O’Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Ouellet
Pallister
Paradis
Perron
Petit
Picard
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Vincent
Wallace
Wappel
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich
Total: — 155

PAIRED — PAIRÉS
Barbot
Benoit
Bigras
Clement
Duceppe
Laforest
Lalonde
Malo
Mark
Scheer
Tilson
Verner

February 21, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, bloc quebecois, Canada Health Act, conservatives, national autism strategy | 4 Comments