Thursday, December 20, 2007

Autism Consultation: US (Transparent) v Canada (Secretive)

Lisa Jo Rudy, host of Autism posted a comment informing the public that the National Institute of Health (NIH) wants public feedback on autism research issues. In The NIH Wants YOU to Provide Recommendations for Future Autism Research! Ms Rudy provides the following information:

"Do you have specific ideas or direction for the NIH, as it implements the Combatting Autism bill? If so, now is the time to take action. The NIH has just issued an "RFI" (request for information) to the autism community, and they are seeking your input on next steps for research. Here's the essential information: Description

The purpose of this time-sensitive RFI is to seek input from ASD stakeholders such as individuals with ASD and their families, autism advocates, scientists, health professionals, therapists, educators, state and local programs for ASD, and the public at large about what they consider to be high-priority research questions."

As a Canadian active in autism advocacy I am impressed with the American openness and true public consultation as reflected in the above referenced Request for Information. By contrast I am disgusted with the secretive, elitist, and politicized approach taken by the Canadian Institute of Health Research. In Canada the CIHR cancelled a planned National Autism Symposium when it found out that autism parent advocates wanted to play a real part in the symposium. It was rescheduled and described as a "research" symposium, with secretive, limited invitees, and with the implication that the parents who live 24/7, 52 weeks a year with autism realities could not possibly offer any intelligent contribution to the discussion. Oh Canada, we can do better than that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't be too impressed. The US govt has been secretive all along. They've done no real counts. They're done no study to compare vaccinated versus unvaccinated. They've not forced insurance companies to cover costs of therapy, or biomed treatments.
They've put all their eggs in one basket (genetics).
Asking the public for information is one thing...actually using the information gained is a whole 'nother story.