On October 27 2006 a Private Member's motion by Fredericton MP Andy Scott, M-172, will be debated in the House of Commons. The Motion, as Andy's letter soliciting support from other MP's sets out below, calls on the federal government to develop a National Autism Strategy. Andy has had the help of an amazing group of students from Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton led by teacher Greg Peters. I had the privilege of talking to them last year for about an hour. The hour flew by quickly, filled with well informed, insightful questions. Autism advocates Brian Rimpilainen, Lila Barry and Dawn Bowie, have also worked hard at making this happen. The motion debate will be broadcast on the CPAC channel on October 27 2006.
Let's keep our fingers crossed and wish for success on October 27, 2006. And whatever happens a big thank you to Andy Scott, his office staff, Greg Peters and his students at Leo Hayes High School , Brian Rimpilainen, Lila Barry and Dawn Bowie.
I am contacting you in reference to my Private Member’s Motion M-172 calling on the House of Commons to ask the Government of Canada to develop a National Strategy on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In advance of the debate early in this fall session, I ask that you please take a moment and review the attached letter from students and teachers at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton. They have consulted extensively with autism treatment advocates, legal authorities and myself to help craft the contents of this motion.
As you know, children with autism are not covered under the Canada Health Act. As a result, it is up to each province and territory to determine the level and extent of care that they will receive.
In Alberta, care is provided to those individuals up to 18 years old. During the past couple of years, I have heard many stories of families leaving parts of the country, including here in New Brunswick, to go to Alberta and seek the appropriate care for their children. Quite frankly, parents shouldn’t have to do that in this country.
A national strategy would help ensure that persons with autism spectrum disorders will receive treatment and therapy for their condition and the associated costs will be covered by the provincial and territorial health care insurance plans. One child in one hundred and sixty-six now born will be afflicted with Autism Spectrum Disorder and that number is increasing at an alarming rate.
Studies have repeatedly shown that Applied Behavioural Analysis, Intensive Behavioural Intervention and other treatments can dramatically improve the social and intellectual functioning of autistic children and thereby their quality of life.
The enormously debilitating intellectual and social cost to the sufferer is rivaled only with the financial and emotional burden of care on their families. Therefore, a strategy would be a great thing to help make practical investments early in a child’s life in providing necessary interventions that will save money in the long run.
I believe the Government of Canada has an important role it can play to facilitate such an important initiative.
I ask that for your support of M-172 and please reply to these high school students who should be commended for being so enthusiastically engaged in public policy development.