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

National Autism Political Strategy, Dartmouth, May 26, 2007











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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autism Resource Centre in Moncton Received $29,000 From Conservative Government

Minister of Human Resources Monte Solberg stands in the House of Commons during question period Wednesday. He was peppered with questions about the Conservatives’ changes to student job funding.
Politics Monte Solberg says Tory government is ‘helping groups that need the help

The Toronto Star has reported the funding cuts for the I Can Now summer camp in Ontario but the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal is also reporting that the Harper government did provide $29,000 in funding to the Autism Resource Centre in Moncton, an increase of $20,000 over the previous year. The Telegraph Journal article report also includes accounts of 50 community groups in the Saint John area that were denied funding.

http://www.canadaeast.com/ce2/docroot/article.php?articleID=144982

May 19, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, community groups, conservatives, funding cuts, Monte Solberg, Stephen Harper | Leave a comment

Ontario Rescues Autism Summer Camp from Harper Funding Cuts




The Liberal government of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has stepped in to announce it would provide funding to ensure that a summer camp for autistic children remained open after it had been announced that the federal Conservative government of Stephen Harper was cutting funding for the camp. Stephen Harper cutting funding for autistic children? No surprise there.

Ontario rescues camp for autistic children

May 18, 2007 04:30 AM
bruce campion-smith
ottawa burea

OTTAWA–While a Toronto camp for autistic children will now go ahead this summer after Queen’s Park came to the rescue, hundreds of other community projects across Canada are in doubt because they are being refused funding to hire students by the federal Conservatives.

But Ontario wasted no time yesterday in announcing it would help run the Yes I Can! camp.

Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario’s minister of children and youth services, said she was moved to act after reading in yesterday’s Star that Ottawa had rejected the camp’s funding request.

“We will make sure that that summer camp continues for these kids,” Chambers told the Legislature.

“We, the government of Ontario, will invest the $38,000 that they have lost in order to ensure that these kids can continue to have a summer camp,” she said.

For more than a decade, the school has relied on federal funding to hire student counsellors to run a camp for up to 65 pre-schoolers with autism as well as low-income kids.

Janet MacDougall, the school’s executive director, said she was grateful for the province’s offer although she hadn’t been given official word last night.

“I am so grateful they are coming to the party,” MacDougall said.

She said the provincial cash was welcomed, especially since she’s been pushing Queen’s Park for three years to provide funding for her school.

MacDougall says she was overwhelmed by the response to the Star article, including calls from the offices of federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, provincial Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory and countless Star readers, all keen to donate cash or offer their help to keep the camp open.

Bert Levy offered up $9,500 from the Orion Foundation, a charity that assists people with disabilities, to kickstart the community fundraising.

“They’re stepping on the very weakest of our people. Makes you wonder,” he said of Ottawa’s decision to reject the funding request to help autistic kids.”

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/215326

May 18, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Dalton McGuinty, Ontario, Stephen Harper, Yes I Can | Leave a comment

Dear Prime Minister Harper – Autism and You; An Open Letter Asking You to Open Your Mind, Open Your Heart



Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to you as the father of a severely autistic 11 year old boy living in Fredericton, New Brunswick and as an autism advocate for the past 8 years here in New Brunswick. Recently I was disappointed, bitterly disappointed, by two actions by your very tightly controlled government – the rejection of MP Shawn Murphy’s motion to amend the Canada Health Act to ensure autistic children, wherever they reside in Canada, would receive government funded treatment for their autism. Canada as a nation has long ago rejected the notion that accidents of geography should determine whether Canadians receive life sustaining or life enhancing medical treatment.

The arguments about constitutional jurisdiction advanced in justification are specious and you sir, with all due respect, know that. Canada has long operated on the basis of a model of cooperative federalism which has developed many legislative tools to ensure that narrow constitutional boundaries do not impair the quality of life in this great country. I will mention no specific examples because there are far too many for this to be a serious issue of contention.

Autism is a serious neurological disorder borne by 1 in 150 Canadians by currently accepted estimates. It also impacts on the lives of parents, siblings, grandparents and other caregivers. There is no known cure but there is a widely acknowledged, evidence based treatment available, Applied Behavioural Analysis, or ABA, which is supported by literally hundreds of studies, including recent studies, which document the effectiveness of ABA in improving the IQ, the linguistic skills and comprehension, the ability to function in the real world, of children with autism. In my son’s case, even with the limited ABA therapy which was available in New Brunswick at the time because of a shortage of trained personnel, he has made tremendous gains. From a child who could only scream and tantrum he became a child who can communicate using words, who is reading, albeit at a level below his chronological age, and who in fact almost daily pulls out books on his own initiative to real aloud for his own enjoyment. This is the ABA which parents seek across Canada, the USA and the world for their autistic children.

There are those who oppose ABA based on personal preferences, outdated and ill founded misconceptions about what ABA involves and quite simply on the basis of paranoid, conspiratorial beliefs that somehow they as human beings, as functioning adults, will be deprived of their personalities if someone else’s autistic children are taught fundamental living skills by use of ABA. They make stretched and tortured arguments about ABA turning children into robots. This is nonsense as they happy joyful pictures of my son which I will provide a link for in this letter can rebut with finality. They also make disingenuous attacks on the studies which have documented ABA based gains for autistic children ignoring the fact that literally hundreds of such studies exist all showing substantial gains. Critics also focus on costs of providing ABA ignoring the studies that have shown the huge financial savings to government in reduction of service provision over the lives of autistic persons who have benefited from ABA.

I do not actually expect you to personally read this email Prime Minister. I hope though that a conscientious staffer or, through the marvel that is the internet, a family member or friend, will see fit to read this and implore you to take action on behalf of Canadians with autism. You can make a difference in the lives of 1 in 150 Canadians Prime Minister. You can make a difference in the lives of their loved ones and care givers and you can save Canadian governments enormous sums by reducing the level of services required as a result of early intensive ABA intervention.

Please open your mind Prime Minister, open your heart, and do the right thing.

Respectfully,

Harold L Doherty
Fredericton New Brunswick

May 9, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavioural Analysis, autism disorder, autism treatment, Canada Health Act, Shawn Murphy, Stephen Harper | 3 Comments

Autism Champ? NO! Mike Lake Champions Bigfoot! LOL




Politicians must pick their battles carefully, decide which causes to champion, decide on which issues they will invest their energies and political capital. For Edmonton Area MP and Autism Dad Mike Lake the choice is clear cut. Lake did NOT support the cause of autism in voting against MP Shawn Murphy’s motion to amend the Canada Health Act to include treatment for autism. Mr. Lake did not protest his party’s decision in the recent federal budget to fund ZERO dollars towards the cause of autism in Canada. In fairness to Mr. Lake though he does have a more important cause to champion- BIGFOOT!!!! Yup, Mr. Lake is the official BIGFOOT Champion. Mike Lake Bigfoot Champion!!

Bigfoot risks extinction, says Canadian MP

Wed May 2, 1:52 PM ET

OTTAWA (AFP) – Bigfoot, the legendary hairy man-like beast said to roam the wildernesses of North America, is not shy, merely so rare it risks extinction and should be protected as an endangered species.

So says Canadian MP Mike Lake who has called for Bigfoot to be protected under Canada’s species at risk act, alongside Whooping Cranes, Blue Whales, and Red Mulberry trees.

“The debate over their (Bigfoot’s) existence is moot in the circumstance of their tenuous hold on merely existing,” reads a petition presented by Lake to parliament in March and due to be discussed next week.

“Therefore, the petitioners request the House of Commons to establish immediate, comprehensive legislation to affect immediate protection of Bigfoot,” says the petition signed by almost 500 of Lake’s constituents in Edmonton, Alberta….”

May 5, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, bigfoot, Canada Health Act, Conservative Party, Mike Lake, Stephen Harper | 5 Comments

Autism in the UK – Will PM Tony Blair Take Action?



In Canada our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is oblivious to, if not outright hostile to, the needs and interests of autistic children and adults. In the UK though, there is an air of optimism that British Prime Minister Tony Blair intends to act to help the cause of 587,900 people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in that nation. Autism is an international health crisis. It will be great to see the UK’s autistic population received better health, education and residential care. Hopefully, if more national leaders take decisive action, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper might also be shamed into action.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=69245


UK Autism On Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Legacy Agenda

Main Category: Autism News

Article Date: 27 Apr 2007 – 14:00 PDT

The needs of the 587,900 people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome went straight up the political agenda when Prime Minister Tony Blair met with autism campaigner Ivan Corea and Lee Scott MP for Ilford North in the Prime Minister’s Office in the House of Commons on Wednesday 25th April.

Autism is on the legacy agenda of Tony Blair who leaves office in the summer. Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK presented the Prime Minister with The Autism Report calling for an urgent review of autism services for parents, carers and people with autism – the report highlighted the crying needs of people with autism in education, health,specialist speech therapy and respite care across the United Kingdom.

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK was set up in 2000 by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea who have a 11 year old son, Charin who has autism spectrum disorder. Since then they have been campaigning for better public services for all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The Autism Awareness Campaign UK has called on the Prime Minister to launch a 10 year program of action and a national strategy on autism.

The call for an urgent review of autism services was backed by three leading figures of the charity world in the United Kingdom: Dame Stephanie Shirley Chair of Autism Speaks and The Shirley Foundation, Colin Headley, Chief Executive of the Disabilities Trust and Julie Spencer-Cingoz Chief Executive of the British Institute of Brain Injured Children. Several community organisations and organisations from faith communities also supported the need for a review.

A copy of the National Autistic Society’s Make School Make Sense Campaign was also presented to the Prime Minister by Lee Scott MP.

Lee Scott, the leading parliamentarian, is championing the cause of autism in the House of Commons.Scott launched a landmark debate on autism in Westminster Hall on 7th March this year. It is now regarded as one of the most important debates on autism in parliament – he also quizzed Tony Blair on autism in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 21st March. Scott has given real impetus to the autism debate in Westminster.

Ivan Corea discussed the need for a 10 year program of action with the Prime Minister – The Autism Awareness Campaign UK are calling on the on the British Government to undertake a 10 year program of building specialist autism schools, building autism units in mainstream primary and secondary schools, tackle the failure of some secondary schools in bringing in educational strategies to deal with autistic children in a mainstream setting, access to further education and higher education, labour market opportunities for people with autism and to tackle the whole question of bullying and autistic children, the provision of recreational activities for autistic children. There is an urgent need for ring fenced funding for autism services in the UK.

Autism Campaigners are also calling on the Government to launch data a collection program across the UK to determine the exact number of people with autism. Campaigners are unsure if there is proper data collection across the UK to determine exact numbers of adults and children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Downing Street featured autism on the Prime Minister’s website, immediately after the high level meeting with Tony Blair in the House of Commons:

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page11529.asp

PM praised for speaking out on autism

25 April 2007

Ivan, Charika and Charin Corea A campaigner who represents the rights of people with autism met with Tony Blair in Parliament today.

Ivan Corea, Chair of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK, wanted to thank the Prime Minister for helping to bring the disorder into the public eye.

Autistic spectrum disorders are estimated to touch the lives of over 500,000 families throughout the UK.

After meeting with the PM and presenting him with a report requesting an urgent review of autism services for parents and carers, Mr Corea said:

“Tony Blair is the first sitting Prime Minister in living history ever to talk about autism in the House of Commons and outside parliament.

“I would like to commend the Prime Minister for having the courage of his convictions for speaking out on autism.”

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK was set up in 2000 to lobby for better public services for parents, carers and all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ivan and his wife Charika paid tribute to the inspiration behind their tireless campaign – their 11-year-old son Charin who has the disorder.

“Charin has been such a blessing, we marvel at the way that he has become an overcomer, rising above the barriers and the label.”

April 28, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Autism Report, Lee Scott, Stephen Harper, Tony Blair, United Kingdom | Leave a comment

Autism Advocacy – Tony Clement Loses Composure, Lashes Out

The Honorable Tony Clement Canadian Health Minister has lost his composure and lashed out at FEAT-BC because of its plans to hold him accountable for his inaction in addressing Canada’s autism crisis. Mr. Clement expressed his outrage that the FEAT organization would actually organize to bring about his electoral defeat. Mr. Clement accused the FEAT group of being extremists for wanting to amend the Canada Health Act to ensure funding for autism treatment across Canada. Apparently the Liberal and NDP MP’s who voted for that precise measure are also extremists in Mr. Clement’s narrow view. In expressing his outrage Mr. Clement also declared that he is “the hardest-working minister autism advocates have ever had“. How Tony Clement has the audacity to make such a clearly nonsense claims is beyond me. After defeating the motion which would have provided universal coverage for autism treatment in Canada Mr. Clement’s government provided ZERO dollars, $0, for autism in its recent budget. Mr. Clement works very hard at doing what he is told by Stephen Harper but there is no evidence that he has so much as lifted a finger to help the cause of autistic children and adults.

The hardest-working minister autism advocates have ever had? That claim is a stinker if ever there was one Mr. Clement.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=c1cddc05-246f-4e9c-9455-be53df75eeb3

April 22, 2007 Posted by | autism advocacy, autism awareness, autism disorder, autism treatment, election, FEAT, FEAT BC, Stephen Harper, Tony Clement | Leave a comment

Autism Advocacy in Impending Federal Election


FEAT-BC, which has been at the forefront of autism advocacy in Canada, has heard the message from the Supreme Court of Canada. With two SCC decisions in Auton and Deskin-Wynberg denying the courts as effective avenues for seeking equality protection for autistic children in hand the time is now for political action and FEAT-BC is prepared to jump into the fray – again. The strategy recognizes the need for an effective concentration of effort and resources by targeting ridings of vulnerable politicians who have acted against the cause of autism in Canada. As the attached article from MacLean’s illustrates, FEAT-BC is very interested in one Tony Clement, the federal Health Minister who has fought against Federal government help for autistic persons in Canada , and who did not win by much in his last election.

Watch Out Tony! What goes around comes around!

Warning to low-hanging politicians

Parents of autistic kids take aim at Tony Clement

JOHN GEDDES | April 23, 2007 |

Imagine a Tory who won a seat in the last election by only a few votes. Who would such an MP least want to have to fight, alongside the usual opposition rivals, to survive in the coming campaign? How about enraged, well-organized parents who accuse Ottawa of failing to assure their children of essential medical care?

They might not know it yet, but this unsettling scenario faces certain carefully targeted Conservatives. Parents of autistic children plan to take aim at selected government MPs who squeaked in last time by two per cent of the vote or less. And the most vulnerable MP of all could be the architect of the federal autism policy that has the parents so upset — Health Minister Tony Clement, who won his Ontario riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka last time by a mere 29 votes.

Autism groups are cagey about revealing details of their plan of attack before an election is on. But one Ontario activist told Maclean’s, “Clement is like a pear ready to drop from the tree.” B.C.’s Families for Early Autism Treatment was active in a few closely fought B.C. ridings in 2006. Some of the group’s core members, including director Jean Lewis, are scheduled to attend a meeting in Halifax on May 26 to pass along tactical lessons to East Coast parents of autistic children.

But if Stephen Harper’s minority falls before then, the B.C. firebrands plan to cancel their Halifax event and make a campaign detour to Ontario of up to two weeks. “We will certainly be in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” Lewis said. The B.C. group and their allies demand federal action to extend medicare coverage to full early autism treatment, which can cost $35,000 a year for young children.

Successive federal Liberal and Tory governments have held that deciding what conditions are insured is up to the provinces. Lewis says autism activists will back individual candidates who support their position, but not parties. “When the Liberals were in power,” she said, “they were as pathetic as the Conservatives are now.”

http://tinyurl.com/2d9965

April 20, 2007 Posted by | autism advocacy, autism disorder, autism health, autism treatment, Canada Health Act, FEAT BC, Jean Lewis, Stephen Harper, Tony Clement | Leave a 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