Effective, Scientifically backed treatment for Autism Exists


Effective, scientifically backed treatment for autism exists (the

"Lovaas" Method - a form of Applied Behavior Analysis). Lovaas behavioural

treatment for autism is medically necessary and prescribed by physicians

because it is the only treatment available that significantly improves this

biological disorder. Lovaas behavioral treatment for autism is the most

thoroughly documented treatment of children with autism. Scientific studies

document a 47% recovery rate from autism and a near 100% improvement rate

for children who receive Lovaas early treatment.


The cost of Lovaas-style therapy for autism is not covered by the

B.C. Ministry of Health's provincial health care plan (British Columbia,

Canada). This is serious discrimination against the mentally disabled

because physical therapies are paid for by the government. Specifically,

according to the Premier of British Columbia, the services paid for by the

government include those of "physical therapists", "massage therapists",

"Chiropractors", "Naturopaths", and "Optometrists". None of these are

medical doctors but, rather, are categorized by the government as "allied

health professionals". "Lovaas-style" autism therapists are "allied health

professionals" and provide a crucial health service that is not paid for by

the Ministry of Health or the Medical Services Plan. The conclusion:

children with autism are currently excluded from a so-called universal

Canadian health care system, during the critical, early years of their life

when a real difference can be made towards recovery from autism.


Lovaas behavioural treatment of autism must be covered by the

government health insurance plan because it is medically necessary care (63

BC phychiatrists have endorsed the Lovaas autism treatment method as

medically necessary intervention that should be funded under medicare;

signatures are on file). The prognosis of untreated autistic children is

bleak. Autism has an organic biological base. Lovaas behavioural treatment

allows the child to overcome the dysfunction, similar to the treatment of

individuals who have suffered a brain injury or stroke. With these

individuals, the brain is capable of compensating for the injury with

appropriate therapy. Skills are learned or relearned in a slow and

methodical process. The Lovaas method of autism treatment is not unlike the

treatment for brain injuires and must be given appropriate status for

government medical insurance coverage in Canada.


B.C. parents who want the most effective autism treatment must

privately pay for their child's therapy and also import experts from the

U.S., at their own expense, to train a staff of therapists.


Catastrophic medical costs are devastating B.C. families who choose

to fight autism with the only scientifically proven treatment currently

available. Comprehensive, accessible Health Care is not available to young

children with autism despite a government run health plan that is supposedly

universal. In the U.S., private health insurance has deemed lovaas-style

autism treatment to be medically necessary and covers the cost of the

treatment. Canadians should expect and demand no less from their government

run health insurance system.


There is an effective treatment for children afflicted with autism.

Thirty years of research have documented the "Lovaas Method" of behavioural

treatment for Autistic children.


The method, pioneered by Dr. Ivar Lovaas (U.C.L.A.), is now widely

used throughout the world and is remarkably successful. In the words of

David Suzuki in an episode of "The Nature of Things" regarding this method

of autism treatment:


     Once it seemed like a life sentence. Now we know that that sentence can

     often be commuted, even lifted. Now we know there is hope. As long as

     we intervene early enough, intensively enough, we can rescue many

     children from the solitary confinement of autism... Where are other

     parents to turn -- parents without the resources to hire trained

     therapists. Somehow, we have to find the money to help children with

     autism in those crucial preschool years. If we don't, the cost to all

     of us of caring for an untreated adult will be far greater, reaching

     into the millions. The cost in terms of human suffering is not to be



A Summary of the 2 ground breaking studies: Children who received early,

intensive autism treatment of the Lovaas-type (a form of Applied Behavioral

Analysis) significant improved. In the landmark study that was done at

U.C.L.A.,* 47% of those children achieved normal intellectual and

educational functioning, 40% were assigned to classes for the

language-delayed, and 10% were put in classrooms for the retarded. In

contrast, of the children who got the normally available services, only 2%

achieved normal educational and intellectual function, 45% were put in

language-delayed classes, and 53% were put in classrooms for the retarded.

At follow-up, when the Lovaas-treated children were 11-1/2 years old, 44%

were indistinguishable from average children on tests of intelligence and

adaptive behavior - they were categorized as "recovered" from autism.


*Lovaas, O.I. "Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual

functioning in young autistic children", Journal of Clinical and Consulting

Psychology, 1987, 55, 3-9.


*McEachin, J.J., Smith, T. and Lovaas, O.I. "Long-term outcome for children

with autism who received early intensive behavioral treatment", American

Journal on Mental Retardation, 1993, 97, 359-372.


The Problem: The B.C. Ministry of Health does not cover the cost of this

intensive therapy program. Educational institutions in B.C. do not train

therapists in this treatment method. Parents must bring experts from the

U.S. to train their own private therapists at their own expense.


The Casualties: Families who are fighting hardest for their children's

recovery from Autism, must deplete their savings, then borrow from friends,

family and banks in order to pay for their child's Autism therapy. Although

medical catastrophe often wipes out families in the U.S., everyone likes to

believe it can't happen in Canada --- the reality is, it can...and it does.

There are British Columbians facing devastating medical costs to provide

treatment for their children. The stress and burden on families is immense!

When an effective Autism therapy exists, yet treatment is not funded by the

Government in a universal, accessible manner, young children become victims

of a serious crime of omission -- they are condemned to live a life

imprisoned by the condition of Autism.


A civilized society cannot allow this type of neglect of special needs

children, nor can it allow families who struggle against Autism to fight

alone, with devastating family and financial consequences.