Kudos and Complaints

Yesterday the Manitoba government announced more funding for autism services. The item was summarized in this article on the CBC website.

$123,000 is being spent to extend autism services to additional outlying areas which is fantastic. People outside of Winnipeg need the same support that those in the city get.

However, there’s more. $622,000 is being given to St. Amant to develop a program where consultants are sent in to homes of autistic children to coach the parents on how to teach their child social and other skills. Workshops will be offered to parents to train them how to work with their children.

This announcement of new funding for St. Amant ABA services is a problem for a few reasons.

  1. The service St. Amant is going to offer already exists. Autism Outreach has been training parents in just this manner for years. Why start a new service, with new bureaucracy, paper work, and websites, when there is already one in place that could be extended?
  2. While $622,000 represents about a 10% budget increase for the St. Amant program and will only provide minimal support for the children in that program, it would eliminate the wait list for Autism Outreach, and may even be enough money to start supporting Autism Outreach children as they enter school by training their teachers in Floortime and other developmental therapies. What is a comparatively small amount for ABA would be life changing for the children in Autism Outreach.
  3. Choice is essential in autism therapy. While there are lots of good reasons to give money to the St. Amant ABA program, we also need alternatives. I can tell you first hand that sometimes Applied Behavioral Analysis does not work and is highly ineffective. For occasions like that, alternatives like Autism Outreach, with its developmental therapies (such as Floortime), are also needed.

E-mail Premier Selinger and Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross to let them know we need strong alternatives to ABA. Autism Outreach must be supported.

Email them at:

Hon. Greg Selinger (premier@leg.gov.mb.ca)
Hon.Kerri Irvin-Ross (minfam@leg.gov.mb.ca)

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