Friday, July 25, 2008

Autism and Gordon Campbell's Vile IQ Flip Flop

"We now live in a province that lavishes millions of dollars on bobsledders and junkies, but nickels-and-dimes those with autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, the mentally challenged . . . and the families who worry about protecting them."

Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun

Pete McMartin is the Vancouver Sun columnist who produced, with Sun photographer Glenn Baglo, a series of articles called Faces Of Autism one of the most accurate and comprehensive presentations of autism in the main stream media. In It was wrong months ago -- and it is still wrong today McMartin rips British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and Children's Minister Tom Christensen for reversing their stated positions on the use of an IQ of 70 as a measure in assessing elgibility of developmentally disabled persons for receipt of government services.

This week, Premier Gordon Campbell and Children's Minister Tom Christensen signed an order making an IQ of 70 or under one of the criteria for receiving services. They did so to do an end-run around a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that the province could not deny services to the developmentally disabled on the grounds of IQ. The reversal arises from legal advice following an appeal court decision and is described as "temporary".

McMartin crticizes the arbitrary reliance on IQ as opposed to more realistic assessments of ability to function in society ... or face real life challenges ..... and uses the examples of two autistic persons whose parents he worked with in researching Faces of Autism, one just below the 70 IQ cut off, will be eligible for services, and one well over that number who will not. The mother of the autistic son with the higher IQ points out that her son has serious problems with socialization and problem solving, alone he might have no idea what to do if a fire breaks out in his home. He needs life long support to be able to cope.

But being "smarter" means Schuman's son needs fewer services and is better prepared to face the world as an adult, right?

Wrong. Autism is uneven in its effects. A child with autism might be able to, say, recite long passages of poetry from memory, but the same child may not be able to tie his shoes.

Pete McMartin called the Campbell government decision vile. I fully agree.

1 comment:

Hilary said...

Autism gets such a bad rap and it seems like no one really wants to understand this horrible disorder that is ruining so many lives. Michael Savage spoke out about autism, claiming it basically doesn't exist and his network is defending him. Here's a petition to demand he get fired for his comments.