Newfoundland's Autism Wait Lists - Canada Needs a REAL National Autism Strategy
Posted Aug 14 2009 4:28pm
There is discouraging news out of Newfoundland where, despite a feel good commitment to improve autism services by all three parties in the Newfoundland legislature in May, wait lists are delaying diagnosis and treatment as reported at The Telegram:
"parents are still contacting the Opposition Office with stories of waitlists up to 10 months before their children can be seen by the appropriate medical professionals.
“We recently spoke to a parent of a four-year-old boy in the Codroy Valley who has been advised that there are 70 children on the waitlist ahead of his son,” Jones said. “Staff at the Janeway could not provide an appointment for this child to be assessed for autism and was instead told that he would have to wait at least 7-10 months for his first appointment.”
In New Brunswick and some other Canadian provinces psychologists can also diagnose autism. It isn't clear from the article whether only that is true in Newfoundland or whether only medical doctors can diagnose autism. If, a change to permit diagnosis of autism by psychologists would obviously reduce diagnostic delay.
Whatever the reason it is clear that Canada needs a REAL National Autism Strategy to ensure that Canadian children, whatever their province or territory of residence, receive access to early diagnosis and evidence based interventions. Funding is one issue, the frozen bureaucratic mind set is another that prevents some children from receiving early intervention in Canada.
If you want to do a small part to help Canada toward adoption of a REAL National Autism Strategy you could visit Top Priorities for Canada, register and endorse the Canada Needs a REAL National Autism Strategy option. (Preferably as your No. 1 Priority)