Saturday 16 February 2013

Autism Series in the Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Citizen is doing a series on autism and the general inequality of care.

It may not be politically correct to say so, but autism is an expensive habit for a family to have. 

There's a great deal of debate on government vs private services.  The government's goal is efficiency and cost reduction.  Those two factors will always win out over individual needs.  This is why children are "graduated" from the government programs faster than private ones.  It's why they continue to prefer centre-based treatments over home-based. 

I'm not against the government.  In an ideal world, everyone would be fully funded for whatever therapy they chose to pursue.  But in a world where there's bad press and people get sued, a certain level of appearance must be maintained.  So they have to pick therapies with a solid basis behind them, even if those therapies are not 100% effective on all children.

I can even understand why autism hasn't been added to the list of disorders whose treatment must be covered.  Much was made when the government decided to cover transgender operations, but realistically, there aren't going to be that many of them.  Compare the autism numbers and it doesn't take a mathematical genius to realize it would take a phenomenal amount of money to treat.

I understand these points of view.  But I don't agree with them.

Governments should be in the business of doing what is right, even if it's not popular.  Early intervention and treatment costs less than playing catch-up later.  They have an obligation to their citizens, not to their own re-election campaigns.

It disappoints me that political expediency has continued to hold out over compassion and common sense. 

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