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FEAT of Alberta

January 22, 2017

FEAT/AB Foundation
Families for Effective Autism Treatments of Alberta Foundation
225 – 27 Avenue N.W. Calgary, AB. Canada T2M 2H5 phone/fax.: 403-520-7424, cell: 403-837-2345

Click on the stylised flag of Alberta to access a WORD document explaining a series of questions, put together by the Autism Society of Alberta (ASA), that you can be put to political candidates from all parties in the soon to take place 2012 election. Reports are coming in almost daily from Alberta families — from Lethbridge to Fort MacMurray — that children with ASD are not a priority for adequate funding. Particularly targetted are those most severely affected by Autism. This disturbing trend simply highlights our government’s short-sightedness. By the way, a conversation with the Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta indicates families with children who have CP are also having a difficult time getting adequate funding from Family Supports for Children with Disabilities Program (FSCD). This trend definitely appears to be focused on children with severe individual needs. FEAT/AB will continue to make efforts to link up with other disability support groups to find out just how wide spread this disgusting under-funding agenda is by Alberta Human Services (formerly Alberta children’ Services and before that Handicapped Children’ Services) and the Alberta goverment. How can any civilised individual living in Canada’s richest province stand by and watch this happen to disabled children? Tell your family and extended family members! Tell your friends! Tell your associates and your colleagues! Tell your children’ attending physicians. NOW is the time to get involved. Election decisions we make in the coming year will determine with whom we will deal in government for up to five years. Please get involved!

Click on the Parliament buildings of Canada to access the latest information on what happened on February 21, as regards Bill C304 — for the establishment of a national strategy that could have streamlined the availability of funding and or intervention treatment in Canada for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. On this link you’ll find a rebuttal from FEAT/BC to a widely publicised media release from Alberta Conservative MP Mike Lake, who essentially went against his own feelings, those of many of his constituents and toed the party line to vote down Bill C-304. Just as important, in the media release written by the Conservative party, Mr. Lake freely admits he could have followed his heart (as his son suffers from ASD) and voted “yeah.” He reiterates he voted against the wishes of many of his constituents, who wanted him to vote “yeah.” Mr.Lake even concedes his own colleagues in the PC Party would likely have understood him voting “yeah” on Bill C-304, due to his personal situation. Nevertheless, he did as he was told by Mr. Harper. Perhaps Mr. Lake’s constituents will follow his example and vote with their hearts in the next federal election. Please read on. If any of this moves you… TAKE ACTION NOW!

Please click on this notation to access the just-released Senate Report on Autism.

Please click on this notation to access the companion testimony for the 53 “experts” the Senate consulted in the drafting of the Senate Report on Autism.

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Please click on this link to read (and get a clear idea of the caliber of bureaucrats (Alcock story on i880 Radio… intimidation and retaliatory promises to those stepping out of “goose-like step with the government’s will!!). Remember, these types are in charge of overseeing/administrating “the best interests of our special needs children!” Also keep in mind that Laura Alcock is currently — and has been for years — Provincial Director of the FSCD Program!!!!!Is it a possibly coinkidink that hundreds of Alberta parents with special Needs children are being ignored and discriminated against by the Alberta Human Services Ministry and Department — including the by the FSCD Program. This is in a figureative “ballpark” not too dissimilar (politicians love sports analogies) and no-less shamefull, critically harmful and discriminatory than the way Atawapiskatt, Ontario Aboriginal Peoples are treated by Ontario’s McGinty overnment and, worse, by Overlord Steven (Darth) Harper’s iron-curtain-like and iron-fisted-like majority and how they handle disssidents, discentors, complainers, whinners. No fresh drinking water? No heat? No Electricty? No adequate sewage treatment. No local adequate medical supports and services. No way to bring in supplies to these Canadians, until the nearby river freezes and becomes the supposed “only way to reach and to access Atawapiskatt: via The Ice Highway. Since our brave Canadian Armed forces men and women are for the most-part back from the middle/near/far East, hows about Hercules Air-Transport support flights? How about Sea Kings or Chinnoks flying wave, after wave of aid and supplies to the Attawapiskatt children, and our canadian brothers and sisters? But I digress…

Click on Queen’s Park, the Ontario provincial legislature, to read up on how the Ontario government has finally reversed itself on funding special needs children to the age of 18 years, after four years of court battles with families to stop this from ever happening….

ADDENDUM… despite the jaunty and joyous tone of this newsbrief, it has come to our attention that Minister Chambers was talking from both sides of her mouth, and that discrimination is still taking place in Ontario (but not specifically on the basis of age) under other forms of decisions that result in individual children losing their funding. This is still a good read, although it now rings absolutely as hollow as an empty beer keg or pork rind barrel at a political fund raiser.

UPCOMING AGM:

FEAT/AB will be holding its AGM on January 25th, 2012, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. We will be looking to fill key Board positions… President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary… as former Executives must move on to other commitments. We will be offering teleconference participation also. Anyone wanting to join us via teleconference can contact Guy Emond for the new technical info on connecting. Please call 403-520-7424 or 403-837-2345 prior to the start of the meeting to get/receive technical instructions on how to join the meeting — from any part of the province (North, Central, South), at no cost. Also, check the FEAT/AB bulletin board for updates on what families are doing in various Alberta Regions. Anyone is welcome to participate on the FEAT/AB bulletin board to ask questions, answer another parent’s question, share your story about service excellence or service horrors. If that’s something you’ve encountered / dealt with — good or bad — we want to hear about it… fair is fair! We’ve been putting off posting our FSCD Program Service Quality survey, on the FEAT/AB Bulletin board, as we were wasted a great deal of energy and time participating in the last (2009 – 2010) government sponsored survey. That survey was on the MDT Review Process, and it turned out to be a dismall failure that the government still celebrated as a “success” and used to implement more than 20 amendments, last year, to the FSCD Policy and Procedures Manual… It should be mentioned that of 850+ families in ALberta receiving Specialized Services funding from the FSCD Program, only 150 responded. this makes the entire survey results an absolute joke and travesty. Our service Quality survey will include an element of over all satisfaction with FSCD Program service delivery and other separate facets, including the MDT Process. As it should be, we will not blend answer data to skew survey results in any way… we leave this statistical juggling to the Ministry of Human Services so they can spin, legitimize their less than stellar performance in fullfilling their lawfully mandated duties. Instead we will present results as they are in reality. At any rate, we hope you will join us for the AGM, either on January 18 or 25. The FEAT/AB Foundation needs new blood to keep pushing andn harrassing the government into honoring the premise and letter of the law — as outlined in the FSCD Act — to support families with special needs children, again, as outlined in the FSCD Act of Legislation, which clearly outlines their exclusive mandate and responsibility to Alberta families and their special needs children, on the basis of their clinically determined individual special needs.

DR. SABRINA FREEMAN LIVE
Click here if you missed the April 17, 2004 live radio broadcast, by Dr. Sabrina Freeman, on how governments are denying scientifically supported treatments for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Follow the links and look for — Segment 4 — for an archived copy of the entire interview.

HALL OF SHAME DECISION… LEST WE EVER FORGET:

Friday November 19, 2004 was a watershed moment for Canadian children who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders. Truly, this was not the Supreme Court of Canada’s finest hour! Despite insurmountable evidence that clearly defined the provinces’ — and the nation’s — obligation to special needs children — but in this particular case, children with the general diagnosis of Autism and accompanying sub-types — the highest court in the land buckled to an overwhelming juggernaut of legal pressure from eight provinces — as well as the federal government itself — and decided against special needs children, who suffer from a medically diagnosed condition. To their own lasting shame, the Sublime Court of Canada added to their cowardly decision by offering their tepid condolences and pity to the families involved, while denying children with medically diagnosed conditions equal access to Canadian health care tax dollars for the treatments needed to address this growing medical condition. Click on the picture of the Sublime Court of Canada to read this legal decision in its entirity. Although not the expected, humane decision, it does shed light on how much the Supreme Court of the land is bound in servitude to its political masters — and appointers. While, it’s still inconceivable that a group of grown men and women — all of whom are seemingly intelligent and well educated — refused to render a very simple, common sense decision, they did point parents in a new direction. While still disturbing, it’s worthwhile to note that Supreme Court of Canada is not bound to issue explanations of its decisions.
Click here to download the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on Auton

CLICK THE “EYE ON ALBERTA” TO ACCESS THE FEAT/AB BULLETIN BOARD — ASK A QUESTION, RESPOND TO A QUESTION, SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS, COMPARE NOTES WITH OTHER PARENTS AROUND THE PROVINCE AS TO YOUR REGIONAL FSCD FUNDING LEVELS AND FSCD SERVICE QUALITY

WHAT IS FEAT/AB?

Families for Effective Autism Treatments of Alberta (FEAT/AB) Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, information, education and guidance for parents, educators, and other professionals involved with the Autism community, who believe in the efficacy of Applied Behavior Analysis/Functional Analysis (ABA/FA) intervention and ABA-based interventions. As denoted by our acronym, we also have information about alternative approaches ,including bio-medical approaches, which have — at the very least — growing anecdotal merit/support, in that they can promote overall improved health/ improved immune function in individuals suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders. As with all alternative approaches, please consult with your medical practitioner, dietitian, homeopathic doctor before embarking/implementing any alternative approaches.

This site has been built for FEAT/AB members and others to communicate and exchange ideas on how we can better meet our children’s needs. You are invited to join and you are further invited to participate and contribute anything which you feel may be of importance to the Autism community of Alberta.

WHAT IS Autism…

Autism is a severe developmental disability that can affect development in one or all of the following areas: communication, social interaction skills, sensory integration, learning and behavior. Autism typically appears during the first three years of life. In a mere 15 years, the chances of a child being diagnosed with Autism or Autism-like disorders has risen from 1 out of 2500 to as high 1 out of 125, in specific geographical areas of North America. In Canada, the middle range is now quoted at 1 out 175-190. The U.S. Center for Disease Control quotes 1 out of 166. The 1 out of 125 numbers are viewed by scientific experts as a statistical anomaly that may have roots in environmental cause for a specific geographic region of the continental U.S. All the same, numbers have undeniably jumped in the last decade. While anecdotal evidence supports a causal relationship with environmental toxins in areas of “statistical anomalies” there is not enough verifiable scientific data to fully support this theory. Nevertheless, there’s a growing body of evidence that supports the argument of a strong tri-causal link between genetic predisposition, environmental polution, plus the use of questionable — in some cases known toxic — chemical products in the manufacturing of vaccines, most of which are administered in multiple doses to children with immature, developing immune systems.

Children who suffer from Autism need early intervention treatments to help them cope and make progress, to regain missed developmental milestones. However “early intervention” should not be correlated with a strongly held — but mistaken — impression that this only means “pre-school aged” intervention. The human brain is very plastic in infancy, but scientist keep finding out more about continued stages of plasticity, which supports the fact that humans are capable of learning at all stages of life. No “window of opportunity” is lost due to a late diagnosis. Early intervention should be taken to mean as “early” as possible.

Given individual family dynamics and circumstances, as well as long waiting times related in seeing a developmental pediatrician, some children can receive a “late diagnosis.” A late diagnosis should not preclude a child from receiving fundamentally necessary interventions from a multi-disciplinary team of service providers. Left unattended, un-addressed a child with severe developmental disabilities could likely require institutionalized care as an adolescent or adult, unable to cope with the world around them.

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Autistic Spectrum Disorders is a pervasive developmental disorder. Children with ASD usually have delayed development in at least three of the following four domains of daily living, Communication, Play, Social Interaction, and Self-Care. Specific concerns in each of the four domains is listed below. Often, children with ASD display severe challenging behaviors including self-stimulatory behavior and self-injurious behavior. Each child with ASD is unique, and presents with a unique set of presenting clinical issues to address. ASD is not an easy disorder to assess and the diagnosis is often made after an extensive period of seeking help. ASD usually develops in children between the ages of 1.5 and 2.5 years, however ASD can be present from birth. If your child is showing significant delays in any of these areas you should talk to your pediatrician and consider a referral for an assessment. It is still common for doctors and other community professionals to trivialize the early signs of ASD.

Communication Development

The child uses very few words:
Children can begin to verbalize as early as 6, 7,8,9 month. Watch for signs that this early verbalization is fading away or fails to progress.
By the age of two, children should be communicating verbally quite well.
By two and one-half years, children should be communicating in short sentences.
The child was speaking but has largely stopped using words.
Instead of asking for items, the child leads the adult to the item he or she wants, gestures, and/or cries.
The child does not follow verbal directions.
The child does not imitate sounds or words.
The child speaks, but does so rapidly, quietly, or in some other stylized manner.
The child is extremely skilled with letters or numbers but is not otherwise talking.
The child engages in highly repetitive or stereotyped speech that serves little purpose.

Play Development

The child does not engage in imitative play.
The child does not want to play with others, adults or children.
The child is difficult to play with.
The child engages in highly repetitive play.
The child repetitively turns pages in books, does puzzles, etc.
The child shows an excessive fascination with certain objects or activities.
The child engages in strange repetitive hand movements.
The child looks out of the corner of their eye at items of interest.
The child cocks their head to listen carefully to sounds.
The child does not role play with trucks or dolls.
The child resists using crayons or markers.

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Social Development

The child tantrums for extremely long periods of time.
The child can not be easily comforted.
You walk on eggshells to avoid tantrums.
You know that certain events will result in an extreme tantrum and go to special lengths to avoid the tantrums.
The child does not snuggle easily.
The child is difficult to pick up.
The child arches their back and cries when picked up.
The child tenses strangely when happy.
The child is extremely fearful of certain sounds, people, or places.
The child does not show happiness in play with you.
The child does not acknowledge you beyond a brief glance.
The child prefers adults over children.
The child hurts themselves when tantrumming.

Self-Care Development

The child can not be left alone without fear of a dangerous behavior occurring.
The child climbs dangerously, eats dangerous items, bolts into traffic, breaks things, or hurts children or animals.
The child does not seem to feel pain.
The child is not sleeping through the night.
You go to exorbitant lengths to put the child to bed.
You drive the child around in the car to put the child to sleep.
The child insists on a very particular diet.
The child resists certain food textures.
The child is difficult to dress or bathe.
By 2.5 years, the child should have begun dressing.
By 2.5 years, the child should have begun toilet training.
The child was slow to develop walking.
The child should have begun walking well by 18 months.

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Is Autism a life-long disability?
There is hope…
Often times, the debilitating effects of Autism can be minimized and or greatly ameliorated with intensive behavioral intervention modalities and the help of a multi-disciplinary team of professional therapists. This team could include a clinical psychologist, Speech Language Pathologist, Physio Therapist and Occupational Therapist. Early intervention can help autistic children improve and greatly recover, as referred to in many research papers based on the work of Dr. Ivar Lovaas and the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and ABA-based interventions.

Dr. Lovaas of the UCLA Autism Clinic is among the leading authorities on early intervention and has studied autistic children for 30 years. His clinical research, published in 1987, revealed that nearly half of young children treated in an intensive, in-home behavioral program achieved normal intellectual and educational functioning by Grade 1.

Along with Applied Behavior Analysis, Functional Analysis is used to examine aberrant behavior. Functional analysis is a specific set of methods, based on operant learning principles, that are used to better understand and treat aberrant behavior. These methods permit precise identification of antecedents of aberrant behaviors (a) environmental contexts in which aberrant behavior is likely and unlikely to occur (b) the consequences that reinforce or maintain the behavior (c) effective treatments. Functional Analysis has emerged as the predominant method of prescribing effective behavioral treatments for persons with autism and developmental disabilities who display severe destructive behavior.

Through ABA and ABA-based intensive behavioral interventions, Autistic children have been taught how to overcome sensory integration disorders and learning limitations with intensive, though non-aversive, one-on-one training programs — programs being replicated by specialized service providers in institutional settings and in-homes programs worldwide.

SUPPORT GROUP SITES
FEAT of Northern New York
by Central Ohio FEAT
Parents Helping Parents (PHP)
Autism Independent, United Kingdom
Fargo, ND FEAT Chapter
Autism Auto-immunity Project
Cure Autism Now Foundation
OASIS On-line Asperger Syndrome Info & Support
The Power of ONE, A Story of Autism Activism

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RESOURCE SITES
Autism Canada Foundation
The Autism-PDD Network
NICHCY
What is Applied Verbal Behavior Analysis?
Dr. Vincent Carbone, Behavioral Analyst, Applied Verbal Behavior (AVB) modality
NINDS (multiple languages)
The Coriell Institute for Medical Research
The National Institute of Mental Health
M.I.N.D. Institute resource suggestions
Peter Zwack (former prez of Quebec Society for Autism, now with ASC) approaches on treating Autism
The Autism National Committee
More Autism Resources than you can shake a stick at!
Autism/ Spectrum Disorders Research
National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR)
About Autism/Autism Info Center
National Institute of Mental Health/ What is Autism?
Do 2 Learn / Excellent strategies for help with Dev. Disorders

PUBLICATION SITES
Publications on Developmental Disorders
Intro to Behavior Analysis
Journal of Early Intervention for infants and children with special needs
Journal of Early Intervention (back issues)
Children with Starving Brains by Dr. McCandless
Children with Starving Brains / over view
Autism Info/ Book list on Developmental Disorders

COMPLEMENTARY TREATMENT APPROACHES
Super Foods
Amino Acid info
More on Amino Acids
Importance of Enzymes
Enzymation
Food protein intolerance
Pepsin suplementation

Families for Effective Autism Treatments of Alberta (FEAT/AB) receives a great deal of information related to suspected causal links to Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. While it would be less than responsible to publish or disseminate all of this information, we feel it would also be unfair to withhold this information. We feel it is an inherent right of parents to have access to as much information as is needed to make informed decisions concerning their children’ health and the direction in which they wish to proceed in order to best help their children. There are many topics of discussion currently in the fore about suspected causal links between food additives, environmental toxins and other pollutants, as well as suspected links to vaccines or vaccine contents and how some individuals may be genetically predisposed for adverse reactions to those elements. Having said this, we have posted and we will continue to carry on this site a good mixture of sites which carry this type of information for the express purpose of informing parents and providing them with a balanced forum of professional opinions on the matter.

SUSPECTED CAUSAL LINKS TO AUTISM/PERVASIVE DEVOPMENTAL DISORDERS
National Vaccine Information Centre
U.S. Health Administration, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (USA)
Facts related to the US Health Administration National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Vaccine Linked Injuries article
Vaccine Injury Compensation schemes attached to new Homeland Security Act (USA)
New Canadian study sheds new light on vaccine-PDD link

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FEAT of Alberta
Families for Effective Autism Treatments of Alberta (FEAT/AB) is a non-profit organization made up of many parents who’ve embarked on intensive in-home treatment programs for their autistic children and who believe in the merits of intensive behavioral intervention. The purpose of the organization is manifold, but foremost its purpose is:

1) Provide information, support and guidance for families choosing in-home intensive treatment programs.
2) Establish a data base of intensive behavioral treatment resources in Alberta.
3) Maintain up-to-date comprehensive information on complementary treatment approaches, including dietary, homeopathic, holistic or otherwise safe, alternative interventions.

Effective programs…
Intensive behavioral intervention programs are effective because they compensate for learning deficits and can greatly reduce repetitive or self-injurious behaviors that interfere with learning. Through positive reinforcement, children can acquire the ability to self-regulate anxiety levels, help them better integrate varied sensory stimuli and improve their ability and desire to interact socially and to learn. Intensive behavioral interventions should in no way be interpreted as being a form of educational intervention. These are therapeutic interventions that can help children with neuro-developmental disorders to be more receptive to educational programming. Research indicates intensive behavioral intervention programs are most effective when they include the following key elements:

30-40 hours therapy per week

Discrete trial format/modality

In-home, one-on-one treatment

Professional guidance by individuals trained to supervise Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), ABA-based intensive behavioral intervention programs.

You can help children with autism and their families!
Current research supports a recommendation of 30-40 hours of intensive, one-on-one therapy each week for individuals. Typically, therapists are university or college graduates or students who have a special interest in the autistic child’s unique needs. These therapists are paid on a sliding scale, based on academic accreditation and hands-on experience, for their services.

The cost of a treatment program is out of reach for many families. Alberta’s Ministry of Human Services (formerly Alberta Children’ Services, then Alberta Child And Youth Services) has since 1998 made funding available to parents to establish in-home programs or to find a service provision organization, through the Handicapped Children Service Program, and since 2004, through the Family Supports for Children with Disabilities Program (based on the Family Supports for Children with Disabilities ACT). Information on FSCD funding for intensive behavioral intervention is available through 9 Child & Family Service Authorities in the province. Before being moved from the jurisdiction of the Alberta Child Welfare Act (Section 106) by the implementation of the FSCD ACT, a legal decision from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decreed children were entitled to funding to the age of 18, as described in the Alberta Child Welfare Act’s definition of a child: 0 to 18 years of age. This decision legally struck down the government’s descriminatory practice of cutting off children, aged 6 years and older, from eligibility for funding. The government never Appealled this 2002 Court of Queen’s Bench decision, so the assumption is that it still holds, given that the Alberta Child Welfare Act still exists, and that only Section 106 was replaced by an entire Act of legislation FSCD ACT and Program). Children in Alberta continue to receive funding past the age of 6 years, but there is a disturbing trend toward revisiting this unlawful, reprehensible practice by the ALberta government — of trying to transition special needs children out of funding eligibility by the FSCD Program, through a nebulous and difficult-to-understand process: the Multi-Disciplinary Team review. To access your copy of the FSCD Program Manual, including the FSCD ACT, Regulations and Policies, follow this link: www.child.alberta.ca/home/document/childrenwithdisabilities/FSCD_Policy_and_Procedures_Manual.pdf

FEAT/AB is a non-profit organization working to support the Alberta families who want to access funding from the Ministry of Children’ Services, through the FSCD ACT and Program, to implement a variety of intensive behavior intervention programs and interventions, as well as related additional therapies (i.e. for speech dysfunctions and disorders, fine and gross motor planning disorders, cognition difficulties, etc.) through private Service Providers, and government “tender approved Service Providers,” for in-home treatment programming, regardless of age. A donation to FEAT/AB can help us keep our resources current and help us to keep educating the government on behalf of parents of children with Autism and associated developmental disabilities. Your donation can be the helping hand that leads a child out of the darkness of this insidious disorder and into the light of the every day world.

For information on monthly FEAT/AB meetings, to reach FEAT/AB members in your area or for a general information packet, please e-mail us at feat.ab@shaw.ca This site is currently being upgraded.

Source: members.shaw.ca

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