Media and ABA in Quebec

ASD Montreal has been featured in several news stories both in Quebec and abroad.

Abroad:
http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/videozone/programmas/koppen/2.42145?video=1.2525545

Local:
More recently (in the summer of 2016) the CBC did some investigations into the field of ABA in Quebec. On behalf of the QcABA, Myra was interviewed and the clinic was featured. These reports can be found here:

What is ABA?
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/aba-autism-applied-behaviour-analysis-1.3599810

Waiting lists and regulation of ABA in Quebec:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/autism-services-inadequate-1.3589974

ABA in Quebec
The recent CBC reports on this topic have brought up many important questions for the field here in Quebec. Specifically, why are the children with autism in Quebec treated so differently in this province than in others, such as British Columbia and Ontario? These differences stem from how the provincial governments view the importance of ABA for children with autism across each province, and the way in which the citizens push their provincial governments for change.

Ontario
For example, by 1999 the Ontario government had already made steps towards a provincially funded EIBI program (see: http://www.oadd.org/publications/journal/issues/vol9no2/v9n2download/art11Perry.pdf). In Ontario there are two options for children with autism to receive services: government programs (centers) or direct funding options, meaning that when the parents are given funds from the government to pay for services from a registered provider. Although waitlist times can be long, children are guaranteed that they will receive some IBI during their childhood, and more recently the government has committed to providing ABA in lower intensities through the lifespan (see http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/autism-therapy-funding-restore-ontario-1.3655362). Recent attempts by the Ontario government to change the services and introduce cut-off ages for IBI was met with much protest by parents and practitioners, and in June of 2016 the Ministry retracted this change, and stood by their commitment to spend more on each individual across the lifespan for these essential services.

British Columbia

At around the same time (2000) parents in British Columbia sued the provincial government for their children's right to behavioural treatment as the only evidence-based treatment, ultimately leading to the funding initiatives that currently exist in BC (see: https://autismsupportbc.ca/history/history-of-autism-funding-in-bc/). In BC as a result, parents of children under the age of 5 may receive $20,000 per year to help fund an IBI program, and parents of children over 5 receive $6,000 annually for continued support through childhood. There is a list of registered providers with whom parents can use this money, and as a result a set of standards developed for the behavioural practitioners who may use these government funds (see http://www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/sp-info/bc/). Although the parents in BC strive for more funding (a typical IBI program if done right will cost anywhere upwards of $30,000 a year) and more security to their current arrangement, it is clear that the parents in BC benefit more from their system than most Quebec families do from theirs.

Quebec

In 2004 the Quebec provincial government developed a mandate to offer 20 hours a week of behavioral treatment to children with autism under the age of 6. Keep in mind that in Ontario children are offered between 20-40 hours weekly, with 20 being the minimum for an IBI program. Since then, government agencies have been working hard to fulfill that mandate, but as the CBC stories show, the wait times for such programs can be vast and many children age out before they receive such services. Further, although the mandate was for a minimum of 20 hours a week, 20 hours appears to be the maximum granted by any government rehab center, with many children receiving less. In behavioral research, IBI is defined as behavioral intervention applied at intensities of 25-40 hours. Further, in the government agencies in Quebec, there are currently no minimum standards for the individuals supervising or implementing the programs. This means that not only is there huge diversity across government programs, but some may not satisfy the definition of an IBI program (described by the BACB as comprehensive behavioral treatment for autism spectrum disorder see: http://bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ABA_Guidelines_for_ASD.pdf), and in some cases may not even qualify as true ABA. At the time of this writing, there are only a handful of practitioners in the government agencies who meet the international association for applied behavior analysis's (ABAI) recommendations for qualified practitioners. However, there are currently over 700 children in these government funded IBI services.

What can you do?

Professionals in Quebec have been working hard to establish applied behavior analysis as a recognized, valued practice in this province. The QcABA was formed in 2011 as an affiliate chapter of ABAI. Board certification is becoming more recognized as a minimum qualification for those practicing, although this recognition is still limited to within the body of professionals and some users of the services. There is currently no provincial recognition of this certification.

But there is still much more work to be done if Quebec is to offer the same quality of behavioral services to their populations with autism as other progressive provinces and states across North America. If you are a parent of a child with autism, consider that it was parent action that lead to the funding initiatives in BC and Ontario. Once funding was established to third-party providers, standards of practice followed. Quebec users need to let the Ministry know that they are frustrated with a system that ages children out of this 'medically necessary treatment' (Supreme Court of Canada, 2004), that offers provincial programs that currently are not held to any recognized standards in the field, and that puts excessive financial burden on the families who wish to get a fighting chance for their child. Contact your Member of National Assembly and the Minister of Health, as well as the Minister of Rehabilitation, and ask them what they are doing about this situation. Join forces with other parents in your situation and develop coalitions as they have done in Ontario. If you would like us to keep you informed of any such action happening here in Montreal, please email if you are interested in updates regarding these issues in Quebec


Psychological diagnostic evaluations for autism, developmental delays


OPQ Psychologists

Anne-Marie Ghosn* & Sabrina Rangel* ‎514-441-9099
English – Français – Español
Snowdon metro (CDN)

*Independent