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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 28,167
Location: Long Island, New York

11 May 2022, 10:26 am


The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) released its assessment of the autism report on Tuesday, outlining structural and systemic gaps facing people with autism and their families.

The organization was selected by the Public Health Agency of Canada to help inform policymakers in the development of a national autism strategy.

“It includes a lot of practical ideas about short and longer-term approaches to actually address these issues in substantive way” said Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, chair of the oversight panel that produced the report. He added that the report "highlights the importance of collaboration across sectors and within the community to move things forward.”

The 412-page report points to key findings that highlight much-needed supports for people with autism and their families. It focuses on five themes:

Diversity: The importance for autism supports to meet the extra needs that may come with some differences including, language, learning and housing needs.

Social inclusion: Generate ways for people to feel safe and accepted within the community including transportation, workplaces and job training.

Diagnosis and supports: Train more health professionals to diagnose autism, develop tools specific to a person’s needs, transparency on diagnosis wait times, more online supports.

Economic Inclusion: Government financing, financial support for families, easier access to government support, help for employers to hire and keep workers with autism.

Research: More research will help improve support, include diverse groups during research, and follow participants throughout their lives.

The report is the result of 19 months of work by an expert panel. CAHS calls the process unique, involving existing literature, emerging practice and unprecedented consultations with more than 6,000 people.

The assessment comes months after its expected release in January 2022, and years after the Trudeau government committed to a national autism strategy in 2019.

Without a national strategy, some autism researchers believe Canada is failing this section of the population.
“We have so many gaps right now in how our services are delivered across the country, we have so much inequity in how autistic Canadians are accessing critical supports they need to live their best lives,” says Deepa Singal, the director of scientific and data initiatives at the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA).

Autism Nova Scotia's Executive Director Cynthia Carroll says the new report synthesizes the information that has been reported by people across the country. However, she says she would have liked to have seen “more direct and concrete next steps.”

The report points to key findings, but doesn’t offer any "recommendations" for a national strategy. Zwaigenbaum says their directive was to establish an assessment infused with lived experience.

Carroll believes the federal government and policy makers would have benefited from more specific recommendations.

When asked for a timeline on when Canadians will see a national strategy implemented, the government would not commit to a date, only pointing to a national conference in November "to build consensus on the priorities for action under a national autism strategy."

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman