Autism Reality

Harper & Duceppe Defend Canada, Quebec Against Autistic Children


Above are pictures of Stephen Harper, who stood up for Canada yesterday, and Gilles Duceppe, who defended the Nation of Quebec yesterday, against the threat posed by autistic children in need of treatment by ordering their troops to vote down MP Shawn Murphy‘s private member’s motion calling for a National Autism Strategy. The motion sought amendment of the Canada Health Act to ensure that autistic children in Canada, no matter where they resided, would received funding for treatment. Congratulations to these two brave and compassionate leaders for fending off this horrendous challenge to the integrity of their respective nations.

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February 22, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Bill C-304, Canada Health Act, Gilles Duceppe, national autism strategy, Quebec, Shawn Murphy, Stephen Harper | 3 Comments

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

Prime Minister Harper Let Your MP’s Vote FOR Autistic Children

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Honourable Prime Minister

I have read the arguments by members of your party stating that provincial constitutional jurisdiction over health care precludes amendment of the Canada Health Act to require funding of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for autistic children in each province in Canada, one of the provisions featured in Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy’s private member’s motion. With respect Mr. Prime Minister the argument is a non starter. Such amendments would be no more, nor less constitutional, than the Canada Health Act itself. There is no question that the federal government could not by force of law alone require specific treatments in the provinces, even to address a debilitating disorder which is beyond the scope of many provinces. But the federal government can legislate requirements for provincial receipt of federal funding and a requirement to address treatment for one of societies most vulnerable groups of citizens – autistic children – should offend no court’s sensibilities. And it would not be unduly confrontational for the federal government to simply legislate that funding would be made available federally to each province which is prepared to provide costly, but effective, ABA treatment for autistic children.

The effectiveness of ABA as a treatment intervention for autism is backed quite literally by hundreds of studies and by the opinions of experts who actually work with autistic children including the experts who gave advice to the office of the US Surgeon General, state agencies in Maine, New York and California, and by the experts on the advisory board of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. In the court proceedings in Auton the court’s decision to require provincial funding of ABA for autism was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada but the experts at trial were in agreement that ABA is the treatment of choice for autism – there is no effective evidence based alternative.

Mr. Prime Minister you have spoken often of values. I ask you that you release MPs in your party to vote their consciences and vote based on their values in today’s expected vote on Mr. Shawn Murphy’s National Autism Strategy vote. You are the Prime Minister for all Canadians including autistic children. I ask that you act in accordance with your title as the Right Honourable Prime Minister of all Canadians, and do the Honourable thing for autistic children. Let your MP’s vote for them in accordance with their own values.

Respectfully,

Harold L Doherty
Fredericton NB

February 21, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, national autism strategy, Shawn Murphy, Stephen Harper | Leave a comment

ASNB President Asks MP’s to Support C-304 Autism Strategy Bill

Peter Mackay, Rob Moore, Greg.Thompson, Mike Allen,
Mark Eyking, Andy Scott, Charles Hubbard

Dear Member of Parliament,

Re: Support for Bill C-304 Autism Strategy Bill

As a mother of an autistic child, I ask you to vote in support of Bill
C-304 when the Bill is subject to a vote in the House of Commons. Bill C-304,
the “National Strategy for the Treatment of Autism Act” is of critical
importance to families with members who suffer from autism. The Centres
for Disease Control in the U.S. just recently reported that the prevalence
rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders have increased to 1 in 150. By any
standard this is a national public health crisis. Yet, not one province offers
the core healthcare treatment for autism under Medicare and there is no
National Autism Strategy to deal with this growing epidemic.

The government has recently made announcements of a National Cancer Strategy, National Heart Health Strategy, National Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Strategy, etc.
Although the federal government announced some autism consultation initiatives
in November 2006 and supported a motion for a National Autism Strategy in
December 2006, these are non-binding and largely symbolic window
dressing. Words are not enough. We need action. Please vote to refer Bill C-304
to the next stage in the approval process and let the Committee examine the
Bill and do its work. Please urge your fellow MPs to support the Bill. Thank
you.

To use the excuse, autism health care falls under provincial
jurisdiction is no more than a cop-out.

Respectfully,

Lila Barry, President
Autism Society New Brunswick

February 18, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, c-304, Canada Health Act, jurisdiction, national autism strategy, public health | Leave a comment

Dear Conservative MP’s – Please Vote FOR Autistic Children

M. Allen, B. Casey, G. Keddy
P. Mackay,R. Moore, G. Thompson
F. Manning, L.Hearn

Dear Honourable Members of Parliament

As Conservative Members of Parliament you will probably be directed to vote NO to Charlottetown Liberal MP Shawn Murphy’s private member’s motion calling for a National Autism Strategy including amendments to the Canada Health Act to help ensure that, regardless of where they live in Canada, autistic children will have access to government funded early interventions which are evidence based and proven effective in dramatically improving their lives. Senior members of your party have indicated that constitutional jurisdiction precludes endorsing this proposal. With respect, I think you all know differently. Cooperative federalism has long ago rid this country of self imposed timidity in the face of challenges which although originating in fields within provincial jurisdiction reach across provincial boundaries and abilities limit all Canadians. Without cooperative federalism there would be no Canada Health Act to begin with and Atlantic Canada would look much different today and not for the better.

The truth is that 1 in 150 children in YOUR riding, based on Center for Disease Controls most recent estimates, have some form of autism spectrum disorder. Autism, despite movies about individuals who have accomplished great feats, is, for most persons with autism, a debilitating disorder marked by very limited communication skills, aggressive , even life threatening, self injurious behaviour and a life of institutional care. Many of the 1 in 150 children with autism disorder in your riding will be confronted by these realities.

I have a son with classic autism disorder who is described by his pediatrician as profoundly autistic but I choose to speak of some of these painful realities because I believe that his life and others like him can be improved dramatically by facing these realities and providing evidence based treatment and education. Hugs are good, but hugs are not enough. Kind words are appreciated but kind words work no miracles. Evidence based interventions, supported by literally hundreds of serious studies, will dramatically improve the lives of the autistic children in your riding. But such intervention is expensive and requires government funded assistance to ensure that all children receive this medically necessary help.

Although your party will undoubtedly instruct you to vote no, I ask you to vote your conscience on Shawn Murphy’s national autism strategy motion. Atlantic Canadian conservatives have historically shown both independence of thought and action and a keen social conscience. From Robert Stanfield to Richard Hatfield Atlantic conservatives have not been reluctant to help those who most needed help. I ask you to consider that tradition of social conscience and help the autistic children in your riding by voting YES to Shawn Murphy’s private member’s motion for a National Autism Strategy and amendments to the Canada Health Act.

Respectfully,

Harold L Doherty
Fredericton NB
Conor’s Dad

February 17, 2007 Posted by | Applied Behavior Analysis, autism, autism disorder, autism interventions, Canada Health Act, national autism strategy, Shawn Murphy | Leave a comment

Bill C-304 to be debate in the House of Commons Wednesday

Charlottetown Liberal MP Shawn Murphy’s private member’s bill will be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow. The bill calls for development of a national autism strategy for autism treatment and amendment of the Canada Health Act to ensure autism treatment availability across Canada. This motion is different from the Scott-Stoffer motion as amended by the Conservative government in that it calls for amendment of the CHA which will almost assuredly doom it to defeat when it comes to a vote. The Bloc Quebecois members will vote against it unanimously because, in the “thinking” of the Bloquistes it is more important to argue about constitutional boundaries then take definitive steps to help children with a debilitating disorder like autism. Most Conservative members will vote the same way for similar reasons. Regardless of the outcome it will be interesting to listen to the debate.

The telecast is 5:30 EST and for those of us fortunate enough to live in the Atlantic time zone 6:30.

http://www.shawnmurphymp.ca/?page=medianews&action=showInfo&itemID=203

Bill C-304 to be debate in the House of Commons Wednesday

OTTAWA – MP Shawn Murphy’s Private Member’s 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, will be up for its last hour of debate at second reading in the House of Commons tomorrow at 5:30pm EST (6:30 Atlantic). The debate will be carried live by CPAC.

If passed, C-304 would require the Government to table a national strategy to streamline the availability of treatment for autism spectrum disorder across the country.

Mr. Murphy is available to speak to the Media about his Private Members Bill upon request. Following the debate, transcripts of his speech will also be available.

February 13, 2007 Posted by | autism, Canada Health Act, national autism strategy, Shawn Murphy, treatment | Leave a comment

Autism Interventions Over the Internet

The Canadian Senate committee examining autism funding heard testimony from an autism expert, Dr. Jeannette Holden, in which Dr. Holden advocated the use of computer technology to alleviate the problem of providing autism intervention services to families of children with autism. Dr. Holden referred specifically to Virtual Experts Clinic a company which produces an online program called Autism Pro. Dr. Holden stated that Autism Pro “is not meant to replace therapists, but gives parents on waiting lists a chance to start doing something with their children.”

The waiting list problem for autism interventions is a serious problem in most areas of Canada and if a child is not actually involved with a therapist then in one sense it could not be said that parents would be replacing therapists by relying on an internet program to provide their own intervention for their children while they wait for the assistance of actual therapists. In a different sense, however, parents providing interventions are in fact performing the functions of, and thereby replacing, therapists. The parents who provide such interventions may or may not have any training or supervision while they are doing so. As a parent I understand fully that a parent will probably not want to sit back and wait for a therapist to become available to work with their child. Non-professional intervention though raises the question of potential harm from improperly provided interventions.

Virtual Experts Clinic originated in New Brunswick. As an active member of the autism advocacy community in New Brunswick I have met its creator, Ms. Cynthia Howroyd and had the opportunity to review Ms. Howroyd’s proposal in 2003 when it was in a more conceptual stage. The concept was presented to an autism steering committee established at the University of New Brunswick of which I am, and was at the time, a member. I had several concerns about the concept which I still hold.

1) Environment – as a parent of a profoundly autistic 11 year old boy I know that his environment is a critical factor in understanding his behavior and potential negative influences on his behavior. It is difficult to assess and analyze problem behavior from a distance without actually viewing, hearing, touching or smelling the environmental factors that might bother my son at a given point. Even being present in that environment it is not easy since he is much more sensitive to environmental stimuli than I am. The program of course relies upon the input of the parent or professional who is using the program and presumably has taken the environmental factors into account in analyzing the behavior. But with the transfer of that input to a program written by experts on a generic basis the possibility for an improper analysis and recommendation would seem to me to be greater.

2. Accountability – if interventions are not done properly at any stage will Virtual Experts or the experts who provide the input for the program be held accountable at least to their professional bodies and if so in what jurisdiction? It is not clear that users will have any real recourse for problems that might arise from use of the program – other than a return of funds which may be small consolation if a child has regressed as a result of improper intervention. While Autism Pro adverises a no-risk trial that no-risk claim clearly refers to fees paid not to risk of harm or delay in a child that might result from use of Autism Pro:

No Risk TrialVirtual Expert Clinics Inc. will refund the full value paid for AutismPro if you are not satisfied with the program within 30 days of receipt. If you wish to cancel your subscription after 30 days, a refund payment will be prorated at the monthly price paid in advance, based on the number of months remaining on your subscription. We do not require a reason for cancellation or any advance notice.

http://www.autismpro.com/

3. Non-evidence Based Interventions

In the Autism Pro press releases Ms. Howroyd states that Autism Pro uses evidence based interventions. “Because AutismPro is online intelligent software and because it integrates the full range of evidence based interventions in autism it is also a powerful tool for researchers to collect data on intervention choices and related outcomes for different children.”

http://ww1.prweb.com/releases/2006/12/prweb489594.htm#

The problem I have with that statement is that, to my knowledge, only one intervention, Applied Behavior Analysis, is considered to have met the standard of evidence based intervention for autism. See for example the MADSEC Autism Task Force Report and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. Most of the experts and expertise associated with Autism Pro are not ABA oriented.

http://www.madsec.org/docs/ATFReport.pdf#search=%22madsec%20report%22/
http://www.asatonline.org/resources/informedchoice.htm

4. Potentially Ineffective Use of Scarce Resources

I became aware of the conceptual precursor to Autism Pro shortly after the New Brunswick Provincial government announced on April 1, 2003, that it would provide funding for some autism services. Ms. Howroyd sought out various autism organizations in New Brunswick shortly thereafter to present her idea for an internet based answer to the demand for autism intervention assistance. More recently, a motion has been passed in the House of Commons calling for a National Autism Strategy and Virtual Experts has lost no time in positioning itself as a potential recipient of funding resources in connection with the motion as one of their press releases shows:

A private members motion put forth by New Brunswick Liberal MP Andy Scott calling for the federal government to develop a national autism strategy was passed on December 5. On December 7, the United States senate unanimously passed a bill authorizes nearly a billion dollars in spending for autism research and programs.”

http://ww1.prweb.com/releases/2006/12/prweb489594.htm#

I think it is unfortunate that Dr. Holden has chosen to publicly endorse and enthusiastically support Autism Pro in such a high profile environment as the Canadian Senate Committee studying autism funding given that she is still conducting a research study using Autism Pro.

Dr Holden is currently undertaking a research trial consisting of 46 families across Ontario, including 63 adult care providers and 52 children aged 2 to 9, using AutismPro. The study is being done in partnership with Autism Ontario and Autism Spectrum Disorder – Canadian American Research Consortium (ASD – CARC) out of Queen’s University. Participants have been provided with a one year subscription to the program.”

http://ww1.prweb.com/releases/2006/12/prweb489594.htm#

It is difficult to see how Dr. Holden, despite her expertise, will be able to remain detached and objective in her conduct of the study given that she has already publicly endorsed the program which she is using in the study. Technology is glamorous and we live in an era when information technology increasingly dominates our lives and decision making. This blog site itself would have been unimaginable a few short years ago. Maybe Autism Pro will provide real solutions to autistic children. I am sure that there will be tremendous pressure exerted on government to provide more funding to Autism Pro than it has already received from organizations such as the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Since resources are not unlimited choices will be made about which options receive funding, to what extent, and which do not. Hopefully the decisions will be made carefully and not on the basis of trendiness, glamour or high pressured PR campaign. Autism Pro press realeases constantly tout parental support for the program. As a parent my experience makes me much more cautious. My experience tells me that autism intervention is a very personal face to face matter.

For now, anyway, this parent is not convinced – I am still not Pro Autism Pro.

January 25, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism disorder, evidence based, internet, national autism strategy, senate, technology, therapy | Leave a comment