Liberals ignoring expert advice not to abandon children with autism: NDP

Today during Question Period, Ontario NDP Children and Youth Services Critic, Monique Taylor, demanded to know why the Wynne government is taking away essential treatment for children with autism, after a warning from experts today who said that would violate the code of ethics of board certified behavioural analysts (BCBA).

“Today, a group of experts released a letter outlining concerns with the government’s recent decision to remove children from intensive therapy.  It states, ‘abandonment of our clients is in serious violation of the BCBA code of ethics,’” Taylor said.  

Even the Minster’s own report doesn’t suggest kicking kids five and over off the waiting list.  And it doesn’t say that IBI is ineffective over the age of five, as much as she insinuates that it does. It doesn’t.”

“Why is the Minister ignoring experts who are sounding alarm bells about their ethical duties not to abandon children with ASD?,” Taylor asked. 

Certification guidelines state that treatment should be based on clinical need, and not constrained by age.  The Ontario Association of Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA) highlight a need for transition toward consistency with the ethical obligations to protect the best interests of clients.

“Contrary to the Minister’s comments, parents are already receiving letters removing their children from wait lists as of May 1st.   Service providers are telling parents they have no idea what enhancement will look like, and that children will be placed on a different wait list in 2018,” Taylor said.  “Schools have been blindsided and are not sure how they will handle an influx of children with no support.  Implementation of this program has already gone off the rails.”

Families who have been offered contracts are being told they will be removed after only six months, even though the expert report suggests that intensive therapy be run for a minimum of a year.   

“Why is the Minister ignoring the advice of her own expert committee and removing kids from therapy after only six months, or for some, after zero months?,” Taylor asked.