This week MFEAT (Manitoba Families for Effective Autism Treatment) launched a media campaign through CTV News and the Winnipeg Free Press to increase funding to St. Amant’s autism program.  This is one parent’s thoughts about autism therapies offered in Manitoba:

In each of our meetings, we discuss a little bit about advocacy, a little bit of politics, and we share a few stories.

What I took away from our last meeting is that therapies and support for our children diagnosed with autism shouldn’t be a political battle.  Every parent wants what is best for their child and their family.  Whether that’s developmental therapies or ABA, it should be the parents choice.  Instead it seems we’re being pushed into ABA.  The government gives them the most funding, as well as usually only discussing the ABA method when talking about autism therapies.

Once you get into the school system, private therapists often aren’t welcome to help your child.  If the school system only wants you to use their therapists, then they need to ensure they get the funding to hire more therapists to deal with their ever increasing work load.  If the school system is just playing a bureaucracy game, they need to sit back and think about who is being hurt by keeping these therapists out.

Our group definitely advocates for developmental therapies.  That’s what we feel is best for our children.  We don’t want to take away ABA from other families, we just want the same opportunities for our children if we go with a different therapy.  A popular quote within the autism community is “If you’ve seen one child with autism, you’ve seen one child with autism.”  Nobody can possibly expect one therapy to fit all of the children.

This should not be a political battle.  This should be a right that all children have access to the services and therapies that they require so that the children can reach their full potential.


  • Aba parent

    “Popular quote within the autism community is if you’ve seen one child with autism, you’ve seen one child with autism”

    So very true, I love this statement. I have 2 daughters with autism and they are very different.

    As for funding, I understand those who don’t go the aba route get upset about funding but the government deals with facts and figures. ABA is a proven treatment that works and has data from all over the world to support it, with years and years of collective data. Just like the children, no two aba programs are the same. They are made and tailored to the child. Neither daughter of mine has the same program, data collecting is similar but that’s about it. i (as well as o.t and slp) are a big part in designing my daughters programs and nothing is done that I do not approve of. My consultant runs all programs with me first before my daughter would try them, and again only if I approve. My daughter loves her tutor and it is amazing to see her grow close to anyone let alone someone who asks her to “do the puzzle” 5 times a day. So you wonder why aba gets the funding, it’s because it’s a proven effective treatment.. My suggestion is to keep or start taking data, (it will take time like it did with aba) and show the gov how and why it works. Only then will they give funding. As I said the gov deals with facts and figures, they have no feelings or empathy. Best of luck,
    Aba mom

    • James

      Actually, it’s a little more complicated than you suggest. ABA is not the only “effective” treatment. There are dozens of studies that show that other approaches are at least as effective as ABA. These studies have been recognized by B.C. and Ohio, among others, and these juridictions now fund therapies other than ABA.

      The government is not dealing with facts. Programs based in developmental psychology ike Autism Outreach or Relate (currently offered by Family Services and Health) need to be vigorously promoted because they are at least as effective as autism therapies as ABA and these programs are offered for as little as 1/10 the cost of ABA.

      This isn’t about effectiveness, this is about politics.

      And, since I mentioned research, some of the research is listed on our site over here: https://adaptmanitoba.ca/research-2/

    • Rosanne

      Outside of the world of autism, research has progressed leaps and bounds in the area of relationship based learning and attachment. Over the past 10 years, brain research has unequivocally proven that children’s brain grow and are profoundly influenced by the experiences with their adult caregivers. This includes natural experiences of positive reinforcement and emotion sharing of course, but also way more than this. Behaviorial reinforcement is one tool in a parents tool box but certainly not the only tool. In the world of child health and therapy, professionals who approach behavior issues with only behaviorial strategies and not relationship or sensory strategies are considered to be lacking in evidenced based practice. That is the science! It is time to broaden the view,

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