Sunday, April 19, 2015

Nice To See Autistic Twin Sons of Toronto Family Receiving Autism Treatment In New Brunswick


The headline of the Toronto Star article Toronto family chases autism treatment across the country  doesn't mention the province to which the family in the Toronto Star article seeking early autism treatment for their autistic twin sons moved  - New Brunswick. Nor does the article itself delve into how the province usually mentioned as a financial disaster could have become a Canadian leader in early autism treatment as it was described by David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA-D, President of  the Association for Science in Autism Treatment in an October 23, 2010 commentary "ASAT Responds to Canadian CBC's N.B. Can Be a Leader in Autism Services" and again in his  interview with Dr. Paul McDonnell in the 2014 ASAT summer newsletter.  The essence of the Association of Science in Autism Treatments was that NB was already a leader one whose autism service model was worthy of consideration by other Canadian jurisdictions. 

So how ... and why .... did New Brunswick develop an early intervention model worthy of consideration by other Canadian provinces seeking to provide early autism treatment to the autistic children of their province?  Without going over it again in detail intense parent advocacy focused specifically on request for  an early autism intervention prompted the NB government of day to to put out tenders for agencies to provide early autism treatment.  That call was answered successfully by Paul McDonnell and UNB-CEL. who developed the UNB-CEL autism training program in both French and English.

We have previously heard unconfirmed rumors of families in national organizations seeking relocation to NB so their autistic children could receive treatment. It felt good for this autism parent who was part of that very focused, committed parent advocacy team that prompted development of the made in NB autism program  to see the be benefits of the program being received by the children of the Toronto family in the Toronto Star article. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

May Institute National Autism Center Review: Applied Behavior Analysis The One Intervention Determined To Be Effective For Adults With Autism

National Autism Center Completes Most Comprehensive Review of Autism Interventions Identifies Established Interventions for Children, Adolescents, and Adults on the Autism Spectrum 
Randolph, Mass. – Researchers at the National Autism Center at May Institute today released the results of the largest systematic review to date of interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Their findings identify 14 “Established Interventions” for children and adolescents that have the most research support, produce beneficial outcomes, and are known to be effective, and one Established Intervention for adults on the autism spectrum.
“The National Standards Project is an ongoing effort designed to give educators, families, practitioners, and organizations the information and resources they need to make informed choices about effective interventions that will offer individuals with ASD the greatest hope for their futures,” said Hanna C. Rue, Ph.D., BCBA-D. Dr. Rue serves as Executive Director of the National Autism Center, May Institute’s Center for the Promotion of Evidence-based Practice.
Leading the way in the field of adult intervention, this latest iteration of the National Standards Project also included an analysis of intervention outcome studies for adults (ages 22 and older) that have never been systematically evaluated before now.
The one intervention determined to be effective for adults, and nearly all of those classified as effective for children and adolescents, are behaviorally based, meaning they are grounded in the methodologies of applied behavior analysis, behavioral psychology, and positive behavior support.

In spite of the burgeoning population of adults with ASD, there is little empirical research to guide intervention for this population. The overwhelming majority of research studies to date focus on interventions for children and adolescents.
“Because of the dearth of research on adult interventions, only 27 studies focused on adults with ASD met our inclusion criteria,” said Dr. Rue. “Although we are pleased to be able to identify one Established Intervention, these results draw attention to the dire need for further research in this area.
“Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism; they will require effective interventions throughout their lifetimes to ensure they reach and maintain their maximum potential,” Dr. Rue added.
The National Standards Project is the only systematic review of ASD interventions for individuals across the lifespan based on behavioral and educational studies. Through a rigorous process utilizing tools and strategies designed and vetted by a team of national experts, the Project’s goal was to analyze the research that was conducted and the impact on participants, and to determine the strength and scientific rigor of that research. The results will help to inform decisions about interventions, or treatments, for ASD.
The report released today, Findings and Conclusions: National Standards Project, Phase 2, updated the Center’s first summary of the ASD intervention literature for children and youth under age 22. Phase 1 of the project was published in 2009. The combined the results of Phases 1 and 2 have produced the largest compilation of studies ever reviewed.
Nationally recognized experts in autism, as well as other leaders representing diverse fields of study, were involved in both phases of the National Standards Project and guided the process of evaluation. Dozens of article reviewers analyzed 1,165 studies related to interventions for ASD throughout both phases of the project. The interventions were subsequently categorized as 1) Established, and producing beneficial outcomes known to be effective; 2) Emerging, with some evidence of effectiveness, but still requiring more research, and 3) Unestablished, and having little or no evidence of effectiveness.
This new report identifies three interventions for individuals under age 22 that were identified as Emerging in 2009 and have now garnered enough scientific evidence of effectiveness to be moved into the Established category.
During the past five years, the National Autism Center has disseminated the results of the first phase of the National Standards Project to hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the country and around the world through the publication of the National Standards Report.

The National Autism Center is May Institute’s Center for the Promotion of Evidence-based Practice. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by providing reliable information, promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive resources for families, practitioners, and communities. For more information about the National Autism Center, please visit

May Institute is an award-winning nonprofit organization with 60 years of experience in serving children and adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and behavioral health needs. The organization provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals, as well as training and consultation services to professionals, organizations, and public school systems. At more than 160 service locations across the country, highly trained staff work to create new and more effective ways to meet the special needs of individuals and families across the lifespan. Learn more at

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Autism Society NB Meeting This May, Still Focused On Evidence and Results, Still Operating As An Independent, Informed Voice for Autism Services in NB

If you are the parent of an autistic child receiving early evidence based autism intervention at one of the government recognized autism intervention centres you are able to do so because of the advocacy of the Autism Society New Brunswick.  

If your sons and daughters in NB schools have access to education aides or resource teachers with autism training they are receiving that training as a result of advocacy by the ASNB.   

If your child is receiving care at the Stan Cassidy Centre Autism program you are doing so because the parents of the Autism Society NB publicly and successfully advocated to reverse the previously announced decision to close that program.

We HAVE NOT achieved success, for a variety of reasons, in seeing the development of a rational adult autism care network but we are not and will not give up.  We are still pressing forward on adult care. The principles discussed by ASNB members over the past 12 years with respect to adult autism care were reflected in the  2010 CBC interview with Paul McDonnell, clinical psychologist, Professor Emeritus (Psychology) and the source of much of the knowledge and information forming the evidence basis on which ASNB has operated.  

The adult care principles discussed and developed by ASNB over the past 12 years are also the basis of the recently completed adult autism care proposal which has been submitted to government and to several  MLA's.   ANYONE in NB interested in a rational adult care system to replace the band aid approach which plagues adult autism care and treatment  in NB may obtain a copy by simple request to

Our mode of operation has puzzled some including some political leaders. ASNB in the last 12 years has not acted as a registered charity and did not earn income for the organization or to pay salaries.  We donated our time and efforts without monetary compensation and particularly without receiving ANY MONEY from the Province of NB for our own purposes.  In this manner we remained independent from government, free of the conflict of interest which necessarily accompanies government payment of monies.

Autism Society New Brunswick meeting Saturday March 23, 2013 
L: Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr
R: Autism Society New Brunswick Acting President Harold Doherty

We HAVE periodically met in person including a March 23, 2013 meeting attended by former Education Minister Jody Carr at UNB.  For the most part though we have operated  efficiently via the modern means of communication known as the internet.  A dozen years ago we communicated and achieved considerable results by using email and Yahoo News groups.  At least one of those Yahoo News Groups still exists as a record of discussions among members of ASNB over the years.   The Autism Society NB Facebook page has operated for several years with membership open to anyone in NB with an interest in autism.

ASNB has always operated on an evidence based approach.  We were and are focused on and will always advocate for meaningful results not feel good cliches.  This has been and remains the Autism Society NB.  

We  have been and are an evidence based, focused and results oriented,  independent voice for autism services in NB  and we are planning to meet in person in May for those who are less comfortable with internet communications. We will announce the particulars as soon as possible.


Harold Doherty

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gallant Government Shows No Signs of Addressing Serious Adult Autism Care Issues

The Brian Gallant Liberal government is continuing the trend of pretending that the needs and well being of NB autistic adults, particularly those with severe autism  disorders, are being addressed when in fact hey are not.  Severely autistic adults have been sent to Spurwink, Maine in the past and to the Restigouche Psychiatric  Hospital in Campbellton. It's response to the proposal for an adult autism care network which has been discussed during the last decade in NB and recdently presented in a concise format the Gallant government has chosen to unleash its communications officers to brag about all that has been done while ignoring the most serious issues facing NB autistic adults: the need for adult autism treatment and permanent residential care facility for those most severely affected by autism and for autism group homes around the province with autism trained staff and expert autism professional oversight.

Psychiatric Hospital
Restigouche Hospital
10 Gallant Street
Campbellton, NB

The Restigouche Psychiatric Hospital is located at 10 Gallant Street in Campbellton NB on our NB's norther border with Quebec.  As things stand now NB adults with severe autism disorders including my now 19 year old son when I am deceased or too old and infirm will live out their lives far from the vast majority of the NB population in the south and far from the autism expertise that has been developed at the UNB-CEL, UNB Psychology and Stan Cassidy Centres in Fredericton.

My Son Conor is now 19 and, so far,  has had a happy life  notwithstanding his severe autism disorder and related conditions including seizures, life threatening reactions to his meds,  and  serious self-injurious behavior. My experience raising my son, previous Autism Society representations and public statements of NB Autism Expert Paul McDonnel are ignored by the NB Government which has responded to a very serious well drafted adult autism care proposal by tasking its communication officers to pretend that everything is just hunky dory and all will be well as long as we all keep saying "community" and "inclusion" over and over".  

Community cliches will not address the needs of severely autistic adults like my son. I know from 19 years of parenting and 17 years of autism advocacy in NB that ignoring the facts will not help my son  and other NB autistic adults.