Autism Society Canada

Autism Society Canada

April 03, 2007 10:54 ET

Autism Society Canada Sees Lack of Urgency in Senate Committee Recommendations on Support of Canadians with Autism Spectrum Disorders

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 3, 2007) - More than three years have passed since Autism Society Canada (ASC) began to call on the federal government to put in place a comprehensive national autism strategy to address the lifespan needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). On March 29th, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology issued its final report of the 2006 Enquiry on the Funding for the Treatment of Autism entitled, PAY NOW OR PAY LATER: Autism Families In Crisis, (Chair: The Honourable Art Eggleton, P.C., Deputy Chair: The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon, March 2007)

Autism Society Canada is encouraged by the leadership shown by the Senate Committee in the development of its recommendation for a Canadian autism strategy which includes an important commitment to work with the provinces and territories to ensure treatment and supports for people with ASD across the lifespan. As an organization that is working to be inclusive of adults with ASD we are also delighted that the Senate process has been informed by so many community stakeholders, especially those with ASD.

Christine Dade, President of Autism Society Canada, remarked, "We acknowledge the Senate for its hard work and its comprehensive national autism strategy. We hope that with this Report, the federal government will make a commitment toward meeting the multifaceted needs of our community. ASC is concerned however that the urgency of the needs identified to and by the Committee during its hearings is not reflected in its recommendations. We hope there is tangible action. Without such action, there will continue to be enormous human, social and financial costs for people of all ages with autism spectrum disorders, their families and Canadian society."

Adults and youths with ASD face a serious shortage of services and supports. Many Canadian families do not have access to necessary treatment and supports for their children and many of those who do, are going deeper and deeper into debt to pay for these services. ASC urges the government to provide creative interim solutions to give appropriate supports, treatment and care for children, youth and adults from all parts of the autism spectrum.

The Report recommends the creation of an Autism Research Network with substantial new funding through CIHR. Support for research is of key importance. ASC hopes that this work will be done in full consultation with Canada's current ASD research network, building on the excellent Canadian and international studies already underway in the areas of both causal research and best practices for children, youth and adults with ASD.

ASC is a federation of Canada-wide provincial and territorial autism societies whose collective memberships represent a large body of individuals with ASD and their families in Canada.

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