Monday, November 16, 2009

Saskatchewan Still Canada's Autism Wasteland

More than two years since I described Saskatchewan as Canada's Autism Wasteland the government of Saskatchewan is still dithering, and delaying instead of putting a quality system of autism services in place to help that province's autistic children.

In all fairness to Saskatchewan's political and public service elite they may not know much about autism disorders, or the importance of timely early intervention in helping autistic children live fuller, richer lives. Their failure to provide an autism intervention system with quality and integrity for autistic children across Saskatchwan appears to indicate a lack of any real understanding about autism disorders or the importance of early intervention in helping autistic children make real gains that will help them live fuller lives.

The Leader-Post reports that parents of autistic children rallied at the Saskatchewan legislature Thursday to protest lack of funding and provision of properly trained autism support workers. Tim Verklan, president of SaskFeat, Saskatchewan Families for Effective Autism Treatment, commented on the lack of properly trained help:

"We get warm bodies — with good intentions, but warm bodies — working with our children and they just fall farther behind.”

Apparently the Saskatchewan government has a plan in place but does not understand the urgency, the time sensitive element of providing intervention to autistic children:

"NDP health critic Judy Junor said parents aren’t getting access to adequate treatment.

“It’s very time sensitive. These children can really progress so quickly with intensive therapy that meets their particular needs,” Junor said outside the assembly.

Parent Arden Fiala, whose daughter has Asperger syndrome, said she wants government to know there’s an urgency to the call for a strategy and for “individualized” funding in the interim that is not income-tested.

“The start of the action plan of the (Premier Brad) Wall government is just that — a start. It is not addressing the immediate and critical needs on the front lines and we’ve yet to see the benefits,” Fiala said."

Timid, incremental, baby steps will preclude many autistic children in Saskatchewan from obtaining the help they need.

Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

farmwifetwo said...

"Individualized funding that is not income tested"... If only... I wish....

McGuinty could do it... all he'd have to do is ditch the full time kindergarten crap. I'm SOOOO glad my children aren't going to go through that. I wouldn't be surprised if b/c there's ECE and Teachers in the class they don't refuse to put in EA's and other supports for special ed children. They are becoming the most expensive classrooms in the public system.