BC-ABA Statement Re: Changes to ASD Funding

November 4, 2021

Honourable John Horgan
PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC
V8W 9E1

Honourable Mitzi Dean
Ministry of Children and Family Development
PO Box 9057 Stn Prov Govt Victoria, BC
V8W 9E2

Dear Premier Horgan and Minister Dean,

We, the board members of the British Columbia Association for Behaviour Analysis (BC-ABA), are writing to express our concerns with the provincial autism funding program changes announced on October 27th. BC-ABA was founded in 2008, to connect and support Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) practitioners in BC. ABA practitioners work in home, school, and community settings, and provide services to a diverse clientele which includes individuals with challenging behaviours and diagnoses such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and those who work and live with those individuals (e.g., parents/family members, teachers, support workers). We currently have approximately 200 members who provide ABA services throughout the province.

We applaud the provincial government’s commitment to increase access to funding and services for neurodiverse children and youth, those with disabilities, and their families. We support the government’s objective of increasing equitable services for low-income, Indigenous, English Language Learning families, and those living in more remote areas. Many families throughout the province have been without necessary specialized supports for too long. Change to the current funding model, however, should not come at the cost of decreased access to services and fewer choices for families who rely on existing services.

As you are aware, individualized funding for services for individuals with autism has been available in British Columbia since 2002. Individualized funding provides families greater autonomy in selecting the types of services and service providers that are the right fit for them and their needs. We share your concern that, for some families, there are barriers to navigating the current funding and support systems. For these families, a ‘hub’-style model, done well, could reduce inequities in access to services. That said, the proposed centralized, ‘one-stop shop model that has been announced may leave some families unable to access and/or continue with the services they so desperately need.

We also have questions about what a needs-based model of service would entail. No information has been provided about which measures will be used to determine an individual’s/family’s needs or the qualifications of the assessors conducting these critical evaluations. It is also unknown how long services will be provided for and whether needs will be re-evaluated at particular time intervals. Furthermore, it is unclear how many individuals and families currently accessing autism funding will lose their existing support and services.

Another concern we have regards the feasibility of the ‘hub’ model and the challenges and costs associated with the staffing and administration of a large organization or agency. We know that the move to centralized services can also negatively impact timely access to services, as evidenced by other provinces where transitioning to a hub model has resulted in increased delays in accessing assessments and services (Ontario Disability Coalition, 2019). Moreover, we are concerned with the quality of services that will be provided via hubs and how these services will be impacted by variables such as caseload size, staff training and supervision, and recruitment and retention of staff. We want to emphasize the importance of having qualified, competent professionals on staff; in our work, which is diverse in terms of scope and often entails supporting individuals with complex needs (e.g., severe challenging behaviour), it is essential that practitioners delivering behaviour analytic services possess the necessary training, education (credentials), and experience in ABA.

Finally, we are disappointed with the lack of transparency and collaboration during the planning process. The sudden announcement of significant changes to the funding and service provision model, and absence of specific details on implementation and execution of the hubs, has resulted in increased stress and worry for already vulnerable families. Key stakeholders were excluded from the planning process. We ask that you meet with, and listen to, families and service providers to truly consider the negative impact that these changes will have on their lives.

This is an opportunity for the government of British Columbia to demonstrate leadership through the development of a world-class model of support for individuals with autism, neurodiversities, those with other disabilities, and their families. A commitment to building a better future for these individuals necessitates listening to their concerns and providing the help they need, when and how they need it. Without collaborative relationships, changes informed by stakeholders (including parents and professionals) and based on research on best practices, the new funding and services model is likely to be inadequate or even harmful for the individuals it is designed to help.

Sincerely,

The British Columbia Association for Behaviour Analysis Board of Directors

Dr. Miriam Elfert, BCBA, President
Dr. Sarah Pastrana, BCBA-D, President Elect
Dr. Hayley Neimy, BCBA-D, Secretary
Hilary McClinton, BCBA, Treasurer
Dr. Amy Tanner, BCBA-D, Conference
Preetinder Narang, BCBA, Conference
Laurel Rankin, BCBA, Elections
Nicole Shallow, BCBA, Membership
Jemana Shani Elsharkawi, BCBA, Membership
Ben Reiman, BCBA, Communications
Jennifer Ashlee, Student Representative
Shelly Wadden, Student Representative

www.bc-aba.org

BC-ABA CALL TO ACTION LETTER – MEMBERSHIP TEMPLATE

Copy and paste the letter below to write to Member of Parliament, Murray Rankin. Let’s raise up our voices, together, and demand a response.

 

Murray Rankin, MP

New Democratic Member of Parliament

Room 323 Parliament Buildings

Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

 

Dear Mr. Rankin

My name is ___________ and I am writing to you as a concerned citizen. I currently reside on the unceded, traditional territories of the (insert traditional land name), currently known as (insert modern city/town name). I identify as part of the (insert communities/ethnicity/gender or other affiliations you feel comfortable sharing!).

With this in mind, and considering your role as Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, we would like you to respond to the recent events of the bodies of the Indigenous children that were uncovered at the sites of the Indian Residential Schools in Kamloops, BC, and Saskatoon, SK, totalling collectively at 986 lives lost.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the total number of Indigenous children’s lives lost stands at 4,100 individuals total across the country Your government’s response thus far has been underwhelming at best, and horrifically destructive at worst. This is not merely “a dark chapter in our country’s history”, it is the living plot of a multi-generation state-sanctioned genocide that Indigenous peoples across this country continue to endure in the present day due to the malice, failure, and gross negligence of your government and those before it. Do not let this tragedy become simply an opportunity for more hollow and tokenistic gestures by your government; act instead:

1. Develop and implement a formal framework to investigate mass graves across the country. In doing so, demand a comprehensive forensic investigation at all 139 residential school sites across the country. Dispatch forensic pathologists with access to ground-penetrating radar survey to all 139 sites. Use military logistical resources to make this happen.

2. Demand a full inquiry into the process and information collected by Indian Residential School Resolution Canada to assess what was known when and by whom. In doing so, respect the oral tradition that has carried these stories for decades. Survivors have spoken out about mass graves but have been ignored until they have now literally produced the bodies. Follow-up on any and all allegations of harm done to children as criminal acts. Advocate for criminal investigations against any and all persons or

institutions involved in the operation of facilities where children were murdered or harmed.

3. Immediately desist all legal action against the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s order to compensate First Nations children who were removed from their families or were denied appropriate services. End all legal action against residential school survivors.

4. Immediately provide the necessary resources to implement all Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

5. Publicly acknowledge that physical and cultural genocide has been committed against Indigenous peoples.

Reconciliation is your responsibility and the responsibility of every Canadian. Act now that the lives and deaths of these children and the thousands like them yet to be discovered can have meaning. So that their families can heal. Act with courage and act with truth.

Act now.

Sincerely,

(insert name)

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Article Pre-Prints

Creating Digital Activity Schedules to Promote Independence and Engagement – Kassidy S. Reinert, Thomas S. Higbee, and Lyndsay D. Nix

A Proposed Process for Risk Mitigation During the COVID-19 Pandemic – David J. Cox, Joshua B. Plavnick, & Matthew T. Brodhead

Maintaining Treatment Integrity in the Face of Crisis: A Treatment Selection Model for Transitioning Direct ABA Services to Telehealth – Kristine A. Rodriguez, Department of Clinical Development and Outcomes, Autism Learning Partners

From helpless to hero: Promoting values-based behavior and positive family interaction in the midst of Covid-19 – Thomas G. Szabo Florida Institute of Technology; Sarah Richling, Auburn University; Dennis D. Embry PAXIS Institute; Anthony Biglan, Oregon Research Institute; Kelly G. Wilson, One Life Education and Training

An Essential Service Decision Model for Applied Behavior Analytic Providers During Crisis – Richard A. Colombo, Michele Wallace, and Rachel Taylor
Center for Applied Behavior Analysis

Promoting Functional Communication within the Home – Andy Bondy, Catherine Horton, and Lori Frost, Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc.

A Model of Support for Families of Children with Autism Living in the COVID-19 Lockdown: Lessons from Italy – Francesca degli Espinosa, ABA Clinic, UK, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy; Alma Metko and Marta Raimondi, Private Practice, Bergamo, Italy; Michele Impenna, Private Practice, Rome, Italy; Elena Scognamiglio, Private Practice, Naples, Italy

First Things First: Parent Psychological Flexibility and Self-Compassion During COVID-19 – Lisa W. Coyne, Harvard Medical School; Evelyn R. Gould, Harvard Medical School; Mikala Grimaldi, McLean Hospital; Kelly G. Wilson, University of Mississippi; Gabriel Baffuto, University of Scranton; Anthony Biglan, Oregon Research Institute

information About Autism treatment and ABA

Feeling overwhelmed by information overload around Autism treatment?

Here are our suggested links to current and relevant information about Autism treatment and Applied Behaviour Analysis: