Thursday, August 16, 2007

Autism Advocacy - Parents Lead the Fight for Autism Services

Here in New Brunswick it is parents who have led the fight for autism services. That fight began many years ago. In November 2001 a government report often referred to as "the IDC Report" , almost two years after the inter departmental committee was struck which issued the report, concluded that there was very little in the way of autism specific services offered by the Province of New Brunswick. That has changed significantly but much remains to be done. The changes that were made included some pre-school funding, proper training of autism intervention workers at the UNB-CEL Autism Intervention Training program, and the first stages of training of teachers aides and resource teachers at the UNB-CEL AIT program. Huge challenges remain in all areas and especially in the areas of youth and adult residential care, employment opportunities and quality of life. But none of the positive changes that have been made here in New Brunswick would have taken place without intense parental advocacy.

Parents of autistic children also lead the charge for better services elsewhere. FEAT organizations and similar parent driven groups have led the fight in other jurisdiction in North America. In Ontario the Ontario Autism Coalition is preparing to insert autism issues into the impending election in that province. South Carolina saw an incredible effort led by three determined mothers who wrote a bill requiring greater autism coverage and lobbied to get it through the SC legislature even overriding the South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's veto. The law takes effect July 1, 2008,

Morning Edition, August 16, 2007 · Coverage for the therapies and treatment associated with autism is limited in most states. But a growing number of states are mandating more complete coverage for this condition.

South Carolina just passed a law requiring greater coverage. Three mothers of autistic children joined together to write the bill and push it through the legislature, over the governor's veto.


Anonymous said...

Your blog is very informative. I have 2 kids with PDD-NOS, but its always a challenge.

Unknown said...

Thank you Deb. I find just one child 'on the spectrum' to be a pretty big challenge (and also a great joy).