Monday, September 22, 2008

An Autism Question For Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Ms. Elizabeth May
Leader of the Green Party of Canada

Dear Ms May

Re: Autism and the Green Party

I am the father of a 12 year old boy diagnosed with autistic disorder. The Center for Disease Control in the United States estimates that 1 in 150 children have, or will be diagnosed with, an autism spectrum disorder. This neurological disorder seriously restricts the lives of those who bear its burden. While there is no cure for autism at present there is an evidence based effective treatment, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) which has been recognized by many credible reviewing agencies as significantly improving learning, social and communication skills of autistic children receiving treatment. The gains have also been found to persist.

The most well known, and credible, of many studies, those of the American Academy of Pediatrics (2007), the New York State Department of Health (2005 rev ed), the MADSEC (Maine) Autism Task Force Report (2000 rev. ed) and the Office of the US Surgeon General (1997), all document the hundreds of studies over several decades that confirm the effectiveness of ABA as a treatment for autism. Families across Canada have sued, rallied and advocated, to obtain government funded ABA treatment for their autistic children. And yet across Canada we have a patchwork of provision of government funded ABA treatment. In many cases where treatment is funded the intensity of treatment required to provide effective treatment is not fully funded.

Shawn Murphy, the Liberal MP for Charlottetown introduced a private members motion Bill C-304 which called for a National Autism Strategy that included an amendement to the Canada Health Act to require provincial funding of ABA treatment for autism. The motion was defeated on a second reading vote by the combined opposition of the Conservative and Bloc Quebecois parties. The Liberal and NDP party members almost all voted in favour of the motion.

Ms May will the Green Party of Canada follow up on the Shawn Muphy autism motion by also seeking amendement of the Canada Health Act to require ABA treatment for autism?


Harold L Doherty
Fredericton, New Brunswick

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