Saturday, May 24, 2008

Autism Treatment and Autism Advocacy in Canada: God Bless America!

Canada shares a border with the United States of America and we can not escape the influence of our giant neighbor and our American cousins. We absorb American news and popular culture every time we turn on our televisions. From American Idol to CSI Miami we get it all, every day. American political decisions, from war in Iraq to border crossing security changes, can have a dramatic impact on Canadians and we often follow their politics closely. Why is Hillary staying in? Does John McCain have the support of the Republican base? For Canada's autistic children, and their families who seek effective autism treatment for them, the United States and credible America autism authorities, have also had a huge influence. They have filled a vacuum by providing credible, well researched knowledge and information about the effectiveness of autism treatments.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Maine Autism Task Force, the Office of the US Surgeon General, and state authorities in New York and California, have all played critically important roles in educating Canadian parents about the scientific, evidentiary basis in support of the efficacy of autism treatments particularly ABA. The input of these US authorities has helped many Canadian parents and autism advocates counter the often lacking and misleading information provided to them by Canadian bureaucrats and the anti-ABA biases of some influential members of the Montreal scientific community.

With such credible sources providing reliable, substantiated, information parents and autism advocates in Canada have had the tools we needed to help educate public decision makers and to obtain evidence based, effective ABA intervention for our autistic children. A great deal remains to be done to provide effective help for autistic children, in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, in every province and territory in Canada, but we do have the tools to help us, courtesy of our American neighbors. With the guidance they have provided, and with our own will and determination, we can succeed in our struggle to help our autistic children.



Anonymous said...

Hi, Harold.

I know you won't post this, nor are you likely to answer - and that's fine by me. Please at least do me the courtesy of reading this in its entirety as the only reason I write it is out of concern for Conor's (and all other autie kids') future.

You seem a little blindered when it comes to autism research - your focus is too narrow and you are missing large chunks of important stuff.

You're so black and white (a little of the apple not falling far from the tree, perhaps?) that you cannot see you pick on the very people (Dr. Mottron et. al.) that may have the best chance of making Conor's life more bearable in his adult years. They take "evidence-based" a *lot* more seriously than most autism researchers, and appear to have good ethics behind their work (sorely lacking in much autism research).

Un-normed single subject trials, whilst better than nothing, are hardly the gold standard in research circles. Dr. Mottron is holding himself to a higher standard than that.

Do you only pick on them because of Auton? If so, you've missed the point. That, unfortunately, hinged on "medically necessary", and the correct decision was reached based on current research. We may have to agree to disagree on that one, but please note that I am not saying that Conor does not need medically necessary intervention. He very well may - you're in the best position to see that.

Neither is this the same as saying "the Montreal crew don't think that Conor should receive state funded healthcare for his autism", yet this is the tone I pick up from your blogging. My apologies if I have perceived that incorrectly.

ABA works, Harold, but it's not for all autistics. The few normed studies, and meta-analyses out there show the efficacy for ABA over control for those autists that it works for at all. Therein lays the problem. Look to selection criteria - Lovaas is well known for stacking the deck.

I hope that you still have this fire and dynamism when Conor is an adult and that you are able to continue the good fight. I think you can do a lot of good for the autistic community once you are able to see the big picture. For now, though, with you being a loving parent, the focus is Conor. I get it. We *all* get it.

Just please don't shoot _all_ of us in the foot in your search for a cure for Conor.

Wishing you and Conor the best,

Greg Hamilton

jonathan said...

how is it that Dr. Mottron (and others of his ilk) can make connor's life better?