In looking at the National Autism Strategy information from a CASDA (Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance) conference held in Ottawa on June 8 2011, and which I have posted following this comment, I see that there is the suggestion for expansion of tax relief for autism families. That is certainly a specific, concrete step that will help some families with autistic children. Beyond that though I don't, with all due respect, see anything being proposed to assist autistic children, regardless of where they live in Canada, to receive evidence based effective early intervention, yes that still means ABA, a real education and for the many who will require it, decent, autism specific residential care and treatment as adults.
Early autism intervention across Canada resulted from a wave of focused determined parents advocacy which began over a decade ago. It did not result from conferences of persons building careers in politics or charitable bureacracies or attending subsidized conferences in Banff or Ottawa.
I recommend that this organization stop pretending and start getting serious about helping with early intervention, education, adult residential care and treatment for autistic Canadians. Sorry I if sound harsh but these types of conferences, with their timid agendas, have accomplished nothing over the past 10 years. Pretending to help is worse than doing nothing at all. It creates the illusion that something is being done when that is not the case.
Conservative government MP Mike Lake, to his credit, did provide links to parliamentary sites if you are interested in following autism bills introduced by Sudbury NDP MP Glenn Thibeault who has been a determined advocate for a real National Autism Strategy for several years. My final comment is to recommend to Mr. Lake and other attendees at the CASDA conferences to fight for a real National Autism Stategy as Mr. Thibeault has done along with fellow NDP member Peter Stoffer and former Liberal MP Shawn Murphy.
"In 2007, Autism Canada spearheaded the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and today sits on the Leadership Committee. On June 8, 2011, Laurie Mawlam, the Executive Director at Autism Canada, was in Ottawa with the others on the CASDA Leadership Committee advocating for a National Autism Strategy. Please find below the notes from that meeting, including the individuals the Leadership Committee met with and a synopsis of their conversations.
Connor Robinson, Canada Revenue Agency
- Broadening the interpretation of existing categories of eligible expenses under the Medical Expenses Tax Credit to include more expenses often faced by families with a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Adding Autism Spectrum Disorder-related expenses to the list if eligible expenses under the Medical Expenses Tax Credit
- Clarifying the rules and procedures of the audit process
Lisa Belzak, Epidemiologist, Public Health Agency of Canada
- The development and design of a National Surveillance System for Developmental Disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders
- The creation of a nomination committee to create an advisory committee for the National Surveillance System
- The creation of an advisory committee for the National Surveillance System
Nathalie Gendron, Assistant Director, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, Canadian Institute of Health Research
- The current levels of funding for research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
- New developments that are in the works that should be made public shortly
The Honourable Jim Munson, Senator, Ottawa-Rideau Canal
- Raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders among Senators and Members of Parliament
- The reintroduction of Senator Munson's bill honouring Autism Awareness Day
The Honourable Mike Lake, Member of Parliament, Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont
- Reviewed outcome from meetings of the day
- Discussed Mike playing a role in reaching out to other MPs that have a family member with an ASD, to increase the base of support for a federal ASD agenda
- Reminder from Mike that the following website permits us to follow the progress of bills related to ASD -www.parl.gc.ca
- There are presently two bills dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which are being introduced by the Member of Parliament for Sudbury, Glenn Thibeault (NDP).
- Bill C-218: http://www.parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&billId=5079448
- Bill C-219: http://www.parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&billId=5080253
These meetings were an opportunity for CASDA to reinforce the importance of action on the federal level in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders and share our vision that all Canadians with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have full and equal access to the resources that they require to achieve their full potential.
Thank-you for joining CASDA to ensure that our vision becomes a reality. Our strong, collective voice for the Autism Spectrum Disorder community at the federal level is making a difference!