SaultOnline received the following open letter from Angela Brandt, President of the Ontario Autism Coalition, concerning statements made recently by several federal NDP candidates and their positions on Autism supports.
The letter is directed at Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP party.
Dear Mr. Jagmeet Singh,
I write this with sadness and dismay to alert you of several federal NDP candidates and their questionable, anti-science position regarding supports for people with autism. As the leader of the federal NDP you are in a position to educate and support your esteemed colleagues. You are also in a position to effect change.
The Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) is disheartened that several federal NDP candidates have made anti Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) statements. Families in the autism community have been fighting to ensure that their children have increased access to this life-changing support. As you can imagine, it is very upsetting to learn that a federal candidate would renounce a science that has helped so many children. It is even more upsetting that the federal NDP has not publicly addressed these candidates’ statements even after many attempts by the OAC to have an open dialogue.
The science of ABA is a well researched and supported method of teaching. It is extremely
effective in helping individuals with autism learn numerous important skills like; self-help,
socializing, and even job readiness. And, for many individuals with autism, ABA is the pathway to developing strong positive skills that assist with meaningful participation in school, the community, and the workforce. ABA allows individuals with autism to lead a better quality of life.
The anti-ABA rhetoric is dangerous and causes irreparable harm. The fact that the federal NDP does not consider this a serious issue is disconcerting. No person should dictate what medical treatment others should be able to access. What our community needs is a strong and unwavering commitment from all federal parties that they will work with all stakeholders to ensure ease of access to the supports that families with autism need, including ABA.
I write this open letter with sadness and dismay but also with hope. Hope that you will effect change, speak up and support a community in crisis.
Angela Brandt, President, Ontario Autism Coalition