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Article of Interest - Court Cases

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Bridges4Kids LogoCANADA Parents Await Autism Court Decision
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, June 15, 2004
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Parents of children with autism had their day in the Supreme Court of Canada last week. And the outcome could mean more help for autistic children in P.E.I.

Four B.C. parents want Canada's highest court to force the provincial government there to pay for a very intense and very expensive treatment for young children with autism.

In P.E.I. some of the Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, treatment is covered.

The treatment is intense and administered one-to-one. That makes it expensive.

The Island government will pay for up to 20 hours a week of ABA treatment. However, the funding is based on the family's income.

"Research at this point in time doesn't know the exact number of hours for the best outcome," said Andrea Noonan, P.E.I.'s early intervention coordinator.

It leaves parents like Heather Houston to pay the difference. "We do it because we want the best for Mark. Unfortunately if it was any other illness, we wouldn't have to pay for it out of our own pocket."

There are currently six Island children with autism on a waiting list for therapy. And the provincial government is quick to remind people it is one of the few that pays for any part of the ABA treatment.

The Autism Society is paying to bring Keith Amerson, a New York based ABA specialist, to the Island on a regular basis to support families like the Houstons.

They believe autism is like any other illness and should be treated that way, with the full support of the provincial health department.

Heather Houston hopes a win at the Supreme Court will mean her family, and others, can count on the government to get the help their children need.

The Supreme Court decision is expected in the fall.

    

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