Friday, October 22, 2010

Saskatchewan, Canada's Autism Wasteland, Is Exhibit 1 in the Case for a National Autism Strategy

More than three years after I described Saskatchewan as Canada's Autism Wasteland the label still accurately describes the state of autism services in the prairie province according to a FEAT opinion article in the Star-Phoenix

The Families for Effective Autism Treatment article argues that some money has been spent but it has been spent ineffectively and cautions anyone with an autistic child not to move to the "Land of the Living Skies" as Saskatchewan markets itself:

It sounds impressive when you hear about all the money being put into autism and programs the government is running, but ask families across Saskatchewan about how well this money is being spent. Ask our government for current and regular report cards. Ask what successes it has accomplished with these new programs and positions. Ask it to provide statistics on how many individuals receive adequate and professionally trained support.

Ultimately, individuals with autism continue to lose.


Our children do not have time to waste while valuable dollars are spent creating expensive, ineffective services that aren't based on evidence and research. Our children need the help of proven therapies before they become another sad statistic lost in Autism's Wasteland.

Let your voice be heard for those who cannot. Saskatchewan can't afford to keep spending millions of dollars for ineffective programs that do not help individuals with autism. Let's use the money wisely and try not to re-create the wheel.

SASKFEAT is demanding immediate individualized funding, which is not income tested, until an acceptable and proven autism strategy is in place in Saskatchewan -- a strategy that addresses the lifetime needs of all individuals with ASD, and that is delivered across this province. Our families have been waiting and suffering long enough.

3 years after Saskatchewan started to fund autism services they still do not have an effective autism strategy in place. It is the autistic children of Saskatchewan who lost their 3 years of development potential, particularly during their early years between 2 and 5, who will have lost the most and who will pay the price for government and bureaucratic nonchalance or incompetence. 

Saskatchewan, Canada's Autism Wasteland, is also Exhibit 1 in the case for a National Autism Strategy.


suvarna said...

Nice Blog!!!
Thanks For Great Information .

Stranded said...

If you want to see another waste of resources and ineffective model of services - you should see the complete and utter waste of money Surrey Place and their "consultation based" services are.

I want to spend time writing about it, but just thinking about it so infuriating that I would rather spend time writing about positive things on my blog.

One day when I am able to interview more families and be less angry I may be able to write an informative (and rantless) post about them.

Anonymous said...

I completely object to your article. I live in Saskatchewan and have a son with autism and we are quite happy with the services we are receiving. I am getting very annoyed with organizations like SaskFeat who assume they speak for everyone. How do they know they represent the majority of people in our province? I know I for one have never filled out a survey for them about the services my family receives. SaskFeat does not speak for us all so quit telling the public you do. I also find your term Saskatchewan, Canada's Autism Wasteland extremely offensive.

Unknown said...

Anonymous, thank you for expressing your anonymous opinion in which you declare your personal happiness with Saskatachewan's lack of autism services. People are free to express their opinions in Canada. If you choose to take offense that is ... your choice. Other Canadians should know the realities of autism in Saskatchewan in case they are considering moving to that province. I also doubt very much that you speak for the many parents of autistic children in Saskatchewan who want better autism services.

Pam said...

Totally agree!
Funding & services here
Sub standard & spotty & difficult to obtain!!
Esp for respite funding!
No one seems to know anything!!

Kris said...

I have a autistic son, live in SK and the services here are poor!! If you dont live in Regina or Saskatoon forget it. No programs, no support. School system is no better for special needs kids. Sometimes wished I had of stayed in Ontario.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree, funding sucks here in SK, we had to move out here from Ontario because of work, and having a son with autism to find funding is next to zero, I can't believe the difference from one province to the next, what can we do for our children??