Newfoundland Challenging Human Rights Decision On Autistic Kids

St. John’s – Newfoundland and Labrador has gone to court to overturn a provincial Human Rights Commission ruling requiring the government to provide timely treatment to autistic children.

Advocates for the children are angry at the move because “they are appealing a decision that would provide health care to a sick child on a timely basis,” said Joyce Churchill, president of the provincial Autistic Society.

The government, which recently put $2 million into autistic services, said it began the appeal because the “waitlist,” the list of children awaiting treatment, is not discriminatory as the commission found.

Commission adjudicator Valerie Marshall on Dec. 20 ordered the government to eliminate the waiting list for a treatment for autistic children called Applied Behavioural Analysis.

She concluded the waiting list was a problem because early intervention is critical, and delaying treatment can worsen the outcome.
Parents in Ontario are also fighting the Ontario government in the courts over payments to help special needs children.

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