Parents Await Autism Court Decision
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, June 15, 2004
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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
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
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
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
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
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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