Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Autism Services At Issue in Canada and the U.K.

News stories this week remind us that parents' concerns about how to provide adequate services for children with autism spectrum disorders are rising in more places than the United States.

In Ontario, news reports like this one show parents protesting the provincial government's policy of covering services for autistic children until the age of six. The problem goes beyond access to services, advocates say; it can be a long time before families can get their children the proper assessment tests to understand their condition. An unspecified number of families are relocating to Alberta, where the government provides autism-related services until a child turns 18. This report from in Toronto describes the conflict between families and the Ontario government as lasting several years.

In Britain, meanwhile, a survey of 1,400 parents of autistic kids by The National Autistic Society, a London-based advocacy group, shows that more than half believe their children are not in the proper school, the BBC says in this writeup. The United Kingdom has an estimated 90,000 children with autism spectrum disorders.

The Society this week launched a campaign to raise awareness about the need for better services for kids on the spectrum. A quick look at the group's website shows that it is home of a worldwide survey of people who have autism and parents of autistic children. Find that survey here.

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