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  • Jac
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Steve from St. Phillip's makes a good point: Lets keep fighting together collectively not with each other. If we start attacking each other we will never bring a uniformed voice to the powers that be, and things will never change.

    I cannot speak to the effectiveness of the ABA services provided in any province because my son did not receive any professional services to this effect. My son was diagnosed 2 month before his 6th birthday and was not even placed on the wait list because he would age out before receiving services.

    I can understand the frustration Mrs. Bateman expresses simply because of the fact that most of the services my son receives are provided by me personally. I have had limited time with the OT, Physiotherapist, BMS providers, and even less time with the SLP. I was given a crash course by each professional and sent on my merry way to provide the necessary services on my own. As for ABA, PECS, etc - I researched these on my own and provided the services my son needed because he was falling through the cracks in the systems - Medical and Educational. In addition to this, I now homeschool my son and work from my home. Someone mentioned respite - I had to fight with Central Health for 2 years just to be approved for 5 hours per week. So tell me that our system works - I would have to disagree.

    We need more services, more professionals to deliver these services, and shorter wait lists. Period.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Nellie Retieff - I fully agree that all Canadian citizens have the right to access healthcare - I am not critical of that. The story suggests that the only moitivation that the Bateman's had to move to NL was to access a higher level of subsidized care than what was available in N.B. Our health care system delivered what it promised, but now Mrs. Bateman feels that the quality of care is not adequate for her children's needs. Perhaps if there were less people similar to the Batemans uprooting and moving back to NL, our resources would go further for those that were born here to parents that paid into the taxes that established the service. I personally would have no issue with a 6 month plus wait time for those that cannot prove the reason that they moved 'home' was to avail of taxpayer funded services. Our system is strained enough as it is - we do not need to recruit new patients.

  • Stop
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Do you have any idea how long the wait lists for for pre-school age children with a disability other than autism?
    Mrs. Bateman, I have been waiting for service for months for my child (who does not have a diagnosis of autism). The law here states that no case of autism is required to wait. Therefore, you are telling me you are complaining when you have little supervision? I do believe the supervision with the program is either weekly or every other week. Whereas I am on a waitlist and my child could age out before I am served? You should think about your actions before going so public with them. Obviously, you do not know how good you have it. Send your home therapists and senior therapists to someone else who would actually value and appreciate them for all the hard work they do.

  • Disbelief
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I don't think that it's right to accuse a parent of making excuses when there is little help out their for them. The workers are overworked and there is such a long period of people waiting for help and therapy that the Newfoundland government should take a closer look at this. Although I do not have a child so is is Autistic, my friend who is a single mom has two boys that are. To get them diagnosed is one of hardest parts and to get the help that they need is even harder. She has gone through many home therapists and it's not because she's not a good employer but not many people have the time or patience to be able to work with a child that has a disablility. AUTISM is a disablility and the kids need to be taken care of. Most parents are taking the steps that they need to do but there still needs to be more government support. No matter where Mrs. Bateman lives, her two boys deserve the right to have therapy they need in order to overcome obstacles such as the speech therapy and they need to get quicker than they have been receiving it. The most important stages of development is age 5 and under so this is the most critical time for these kids to receive the therapy that they need. Also to include this rant is not all parents have the financial ability to be able to pay for this therapy.

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Since only the sons have Autism, I'm wondering if the Bateman's had their son's tested for Fragile-X Syndrome as well as Autism?

    Usually, if male children in the family have Autism, but female children don't, its likely there's a case of Fragile-X Syndrome.

    Too bad the parents are not making enough effort to work with their children to treat Autism instead of making excuses and relying on government all the time.

  • chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I think people need to realize that Crystal is a mother and as such she should not be the one providing sit-down ABA therapy to her sons. Yes, she obviously has to educate them and help them like any parent, but once she starts providing structured therapy she becomes a therapist to her children and not their mom. That's why this service is available, if not, why not just train all the parents and be done with the hiring and paying of home therapists?

    I also think she is completely right in saying ABA therapists are undertrained. I am one myself and have been for over two years with two different children and I can tell you that the 3 day course did little to prepare me. So to the posters here that say their therapist is great and wonderful and Crystal just hired the wrong people, I'd attribute that to your therapist and the type of person they are, not their training. Many parents aren't so lucky and end up having a therapist who is just doing it because it pays more than minimum wage and fits well into their school schedule. For the most part, that's what this is to many people - an after-school or summer job.
    The job requires NO experience and NO training ( training is usually provided after you are hired by the parents).

    Furthermore, as one person posted above, ABA therapists get no benefits, no workers comp, no sick leave, and low pay. So what it comes down to is that therapists (and anyone who takes care of children or the elderly really) are underappreciated and undervalued in NL so it only makes sense that they would be undertrained as well.

  • w
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Please let's not get away from the fact, that the children need help here. The mom has two boy's with autism and i can appreciate how hard it must be for her. why not move home... it's where she came from.... she was trying to do what she thought was best. As for our medical system here in nfld when it comes to autism... we are so behind the times.Be that it may be due to lack of autism workers,, aba workers.. money..whatever reason you want to through out there... these are the facts....and the children that need help suffer because of it. I also have a little boy with autism and had to wait a 16 months for speech and ot. These waits are way to long in thre little lives when early intervention helps the most. I have a amazing aba worker who does a great job but again she still needs the speech and ot which is only every couple of months far from enough time for any child. I think it's aabout time the goverment takes a good look at our lack of programs available for autism here and remember these children are also the future of society. Good Luck and keep up the fight!!!!!

  • Cassie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Crystal,

    After being a part of the Newfoundland autism community for a stretch of time, and seeing first hand the benefits of ABA therapy, I think that your comments are completely out of line.

    The senior therapists are hard working and VERY well trained (as a matter of fact, you are required to have experience and a masters degree just to apply for the job, and then go through a very extensive training period on top of that) and for you to say they don't have a clue is ridiculous. The senior therapists that I have worked with all knew the children very well, and had many comments and suggestions to make. The children made great progress in a short period of time, and loved to spend time with both the therapist and senior therapist.

    I acknowledge that you took a few weeks of training from a New Brunswick college, but I trust the experts on this one who have many years of experience. After seeing the progress of more than a few children - and the happy parents who have embraced the program instead of criticizing it - I have to say that while there is improvements to be made, the senior therapists are doing a great job and you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Alisha
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Hey Crystal, It's Alisha Gainforth....Im not sure you remember me but I worked at the NB agency with you a year ago and Im now in St.John's going to school and working as a home therapist! I understand a lot of what youre going through, I know youre life must be crazy busy right now but if you find the time and want to go out for coffee and talk, maybe I can help or something? or at least offer support. my email is arg030@mun.ca

  • Leah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Disbelief, Crystal and her husband are uprooting the family once again, and will have to start at the bottom of a wait list all over again in N.B. She has an appointment here at the Janeway in October, so why leave in September and go to the bottom of a wait list in N.B.? The wait list may not be so lengthy in N.B., but surely it won't be before October. Her waiting time here is just about over, and she's going to uproot these two little boys and start all over again???? Is that in THEIR best interest???

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Just a thought; why not wait just one month more before moving to keep the long-awaited appointment at the Janeway?
    I know you certainly need help, but you're a step ahead of most parents with autistic children because of your training and experience. Would one
    more month make much of a difference to stay here for the October appointment? You'll never know, otherwise, that maybe there could be/could have been positive results. And what if you have to start from scratch all over again in N.B.?
    Yes, the Health Care System in very, very frustrating and unfair, and the long wait times are devastating. I'm not in your shoes, I realize that, but my friend's son, who is now thirteen, has autism, so I am a little bit familiar with what you are going through.
    God Bless You.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Okay, Ms. Bateman you moved here only to take advantage of our health system and then criticize it in the Telegram. Should I assume that you also made the same complaint about NB Health in the local New Brunswick papers before moving here? So now you are going back to NB; where you admit that the care is worse huh? Well dear, good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out!

  • Joey from NL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I couldn't agree more with Brian. Although you must be frustrated, you'll need to learn to handle it in a different way. Good bye!

  • Jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Ms. Bateman, first of all it always stricks home when you hear about these kind of things; especially when as myself as well have a 5 yr old daughter with Autism and also a Motor Speech But with taht said I have to agree with many of the comments above,. it is unfair to say that the therapya dn wait times youa re getting are not good enough. We have been doing ABA, speech Ot and much more with our daughter and it has and still is making a huge difference! And yes there is long waits for speech etc but that is in many if not all provinces adn you can't except to skip ahead of other children adn families a waiting the same therapy. And i love that our senior therpaist refreshes themsleves and are prepaired when coming to see our child; its just like what a teacher does to get ready for a class. I also have many of the same trainings as yourself, so I do have an understand of what you mean with quality time, but isnt that your home therapist and your job as an employer to be aware if a persons tactics arent working? I certainly would NOT want a senior therapist doing speech with my child,.. they never went to school to do speech therapy. They do behavioral therapy, as such the would be able to Occupational Therapy. They can add suggestions on how to go about therapy until you are seen. As we and many other families ahve done and do,.. and when you start and get a consistant therapist in aba and everything else just falls in place. Every child is very different as you would know with 2 children on the spectrum; but really tkaes a good year to see any progress of what your child's ability is. And up rooting and starting over.. isnt that change again,.. going to cause a delay in therapy for a child any how? well all in all i wish your family all the best but i do suggesst not making things so black and white when you are just one family out of many in this province who use the same programing and serivces to better our children to what they can!

  • sad but true
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Your frustrations are shared by many, appreciated by few. Sadly, the ones who hold the power to bring about a positive change, they are the few.
    A problem needing a solution, now.

  • Forthright
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Hmm. Seems to me this woman is looking for respite care - not autism care.

  • Parent of ASD child
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I understand Ms. Batemans frustration with waiting lists as my son has been waiting to see an occupational therapist for 17 months now with another estimated 2-3 to go. But I have to say that our Senior Therapist is very educated has been wonderful at recognizing my sons strengths and weaknesses and subsequently developing the best programs for him. She too is not specialized in speech therapy but has been working with our speech pathologist and is able to incorporate his speech requirements into his programs. Our home therapist is also very educated and has done wonders for our son so far. Overall, we are extremely pleased with the program and his progress.

  • Sihackpunjackpinnawong
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Ur a sad soul Brian, too bad its not good riddence to a swell guy like you.

  • Cheri
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    What she's saying about not doing the therapy herself with her kids is true: I watched what our therapist had to do with my son in order to get him to where he is today. I could not have done it because sometimes it required so much discipline to make him sit there and work. It broke my heart because there were many days when he didn't want to do the work and I probably would have given in to his crying. Our therapist had the ability to stick it out and it really paid off in the end. It's sad to hear that it's not working out for them because our son wouldn't be doing as well as he is today without ABA. It's not something that you can throw down and pick up again in a year's time. It needs to be constant and done at this very crucial stage in development. Good luck.

  • nelly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Robert- Im sure the Father of these children works, it would be impossible for this family to move otherwise. As a tax payer, or as a Canadian citizen, people are entitled to health care services regardless of what province one habituates, and regardless of ability to pay. the point is about the issue, that kids with autism have a window for development in their early years. the more independence these children obtain the more long term cost savings to the Canadian health system.

  • Huh
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Theyre gettign 16 hours extra for free and nobody is good enough? Seriously? Any idea of what that costs? Perhaps if the quality isn't high enough for them, they should pay for it themselves.

    How would you feel if you were one of those hard working educated young women and this person, who's child you helped, had an article written in the telegram about how bad a job you are doing?

    They appear overworked? Perhaps we should cut down the number of hours a week given to each child? We are doing over 2x what NB was.

  • Tally
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    well for starters, the parents do the hiring, so if you hire underqualified, unmotivated individuals, then you get underqualified and unmotivated workers. My son graduated from aba 2 years ago, and the 2 home therapists i hired were amazing, both had backgrounds in psychology and took part in a 3 day training and then were supervised by the senior therapist. But the issue is that when one of the workers was not doing what i needed (which we later found out was because they had an ailing parent), the senior therapist had no ability to actually address this, as I was the employer, and not eastern health. I knew my sr. therapist was furstrated at my home therapist, but i was in a bind so kept this worker. eventually it all worked itself out, but this poor sr. therapist worked her butt off when my worker was slacking. And my sr. therapist went out of her way to get to know my child and visited the daycare, went to speech therapy visits and OT and even went to my child's school when he entered kindergarten.

    But we need to remmeber that each sr. therapist is actually certified in ABA and has to go through an extensive process to receive the sr. therapist title. They also have mentoring, and a manager above them. So i think if you are having issues, maybe its because of your frustration with the diagnosis, or maybe with being an employer, which are the 2 things that were hardest on me. But my son went from no verbal skills to now being fluent. I thank my sr. therapists and all involved for the hard work they put in for my child. Even the sr. therapists dont make as much as they would if they lived elsewehre. And home therapists get no workers comp, no sick leave, and low pay.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    While I sympathize with Mrs. Bateman's family challenges, I can't help but question the ethics of moving her family to NL in the first place. Our health care resources are scarce, and to relocate from N.B. to N.L. smacks of a welfare attitude where she's willing to go where she gets the best financial assistance from government. I have a close friend in Ontario (who was born in this province) with an autistic child who currently is paying over $30,000 per year out of pocket for the same services that are offered in NL for free. Rather than pull up stakes and head home to save on the cost of therapy, he is making personal sacrifices to get his son the care that he requires. NL is miles ahead of other jurisdictions in providing care for autistic children, but our resources are finite and are not capable of accomodating every ex-pat who wish to move back to the province strictly to save money on health care expenses.

  • L
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I agree with Brian from Newfoundland ...Why the hell did you move here anyway...I have a son with Tourett's syndrome and I can't receive the help he needs. You don't see me picking up and moving...Good bye Now!!!

  • Interesting
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I find this article very interesting for a number of reasons. I agree with both sides of this story to an extent as I have a child with autism.

    First I do agree with the complaint about waiting for professional services at the janeway. i want to point out that it is extremely sad that any child with special needs, including Autism, has to wait for any type of service. This includes speech, OT, a pediatrician, etc. Right now the waitlists in this province our out of control. And while I can't speak to how things are going in other provinces I can speak to how things are happening here. More parents do need to speak out about their frustrations with the healthcare system in this province because everyone should be an advocate for their own child and talk about what they need. Waiting 14 months for a speech pathologist or 18 months for an occupational therapist or 10-12 months to see a developmental pediatrician is unacceptable when a child's best shot at life is getting these services before the age of 5. My child was seen by an ot at the daycare and now that position has been cut off early. so now we have to wait to see an ot at the janeway for another year or more when we have been making huge gains with my child, it hardly seems right.

    However, these comments are not to be confused, i do not agree with much that this parent has said about the aba program. You have hired 4 therapists for your child since you moved back here in august? did you ever think that maybe you haven't given one of those therapists a chance to learn and work with the senior therapist? who are very educated and great at what they do. you are correct that senior therapists are over worked and that extra visits and time spent on education would be quite helpful but that isn't a luxury we have at this point so we have to work with these people to help them work with our children. tranistions are never easy for kids, you should maybe rethink uprooting your children again, it may cause more problems that a 14 month waitlist for speech therapy.

  • dianne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Just a comment on the Ontario programs. In Ontarios, it is almost always required that these therapists complete a 2-3 year college diploma specifically related to autism therapy.

    In NL, all that is required is to have completed 2 years of uni with a major in psychology. Having taken psychology, I honestly learned maybe 1 sentence about autism in those 2 years. Yes, Ontario citizens pay for their treatment, but they are getting quality for their money. It is too bad both quality and affordability are not offered in either province.

  • Jayme-Lee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    As a trained ABA home therapist, who has 8 years of university under my belt (in fields of psychology and social work), I think mom needs to stop ridiculing the people who are doing all they can for her, and start looking at what more SHE can do.

    ABA home therapy is not a good paying job, so to keep people its difficult. And having a parent who is ungrateful is only going to make that job LESS desirable. I've personally worked with 2 families, the first did not work out and I ended the relationship, however I have been with my current family for going on 2 years and the achievements myself, the child, the parents, and the senior therapist have made are amazing.

    I think mom needs to realize that because our workers are strained for time, the amount of visits is impossible. There are many many families in St. John's alone who rely on but a few trained senior therapist. If mom is trained as an ABA therapist, then maybe helping her hired ABA therapist out when he/she is lost might be an option. As they say, two heads are better than one!

    My final word:
    When things don't meet your standards, maybe you should attempt to look in the mirror first at what you could do better, instead of blaming individuals who are already breaking their backs for the countless families like yours.

  • Lindsey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    It sounds like you should have better judgement when hiring home therapists. Perhaps it is not necessarily the program that is not working, but an inability to act as an employer
    Ms. Bateman, moving back and forth from New Brunswick to Newfoundland is not going to change the diagnosis for your children.
    Though I can appreciate you being an advocate, we are very fortunate to have a wonderful program within our province. Having a child myself that has gone through this program, as well as a large supportive community, we have not encountered any problems to the extent of what you are reporting.
    Perhaps you should have researched things further before making this move for your children.
    I see this more of a personal issue and one that you need to deal with as a parent.

  • crystal
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    thank you guys for all your opinions about this article. First of all, let me be clear that the cost is not the issue...it is of no charge to us in NB or in NL. second, we did not admit that the care is worse in NB, it is extremely good, and we admired the professionals who worked with our children; merely that, it has been researched and proven that MORE hours are of great benefit to children with Autism. Also, I work tirelessly with all of my children...and it should be understood that teaching children with autism is very different then teaching a typical child , and it is very difficult to be objective with your own children.....your emotions make you give in to them, and that is not beneficial for them. By the way, both my husband and i work, and pay taxes like many other people in this province, and I have the right to expect these things from my government. And people who aren't working, still pay taxes on anything they buy. This is a matter of our rights in this wonderful country of ours. There are different levels of autism, and every case is different.....unfortunately, I have had a negative experience with supervision and input. Also, the therapists that i have right now are doing the best they know how, and they could develop into great teachers given the guidance. Unfortunately the university educated people will not work for the wage that eastern health pays for this position. Also, if we do go back to NB, their speech therapy starts in 3 weeks or less, because that is the policy in NB. And this is also covered under medicare. Let me stress, this is not about money or convenience...... this is about CHILDREN WITH ASD AND THEIR RIGHTS TO BECOME ALL THAT THEY DESERVE TO BECOME. I hope that some of this enlightens some people who did not quite understand some of the dilemmas and actions taken by us. thank you

  • Margaret
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Lindsey, I certainly agree with your Post.
    The mother has training, as well as experience, with autistic children, and if she is a stay-at-home Mom, she'd understand more than anyone else the special needs and moods and actions, etc., of her sons, so she'd be best to work with them.

  • K.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    While I too sympathize with your situation, I completely disagree with your view on the quality of services that Eastern Health provides for children diagnosed with ASD. When our child was diagnosed 3 years ago, we too looked into relocating to Ontario to receive better services. In our research we learned that we were right where we needed to be, home. Home where family was there to support us. Home where we were a person and not a number. Our experience with Eastern health did have some hiccups initially, but once everything fell into place ABA therapy helped recover our child. Our support team ( senior therapist, OT ,Speech and home therapist) have been nothing but outstanding. They are there to offer insight and support. I believe that without these people we would never have recovered our child. The autism society too provided support groups, and information sessions and we formed our own support system of friends who could relate to what we were going through.
    While I do agree that more staffing could better the situation, I believe staff shortages are going to be where ever you go..NB, NL ON. The quality of the therapy our child has received has been exceptional. If a service was not readliy available, my husband and I made personal sacrifices to receive the care our child needed ( Private speech, OT, etc).
    In closing to go through as many home therapists that you have, maybe you need to re-evalaute your hiring practices.
    Early intervention in children with ASD is crucial and instead of wasting your energy complaining to the local paper, you should focus your energy into finding the services your sons need.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Therapy has to tie in from many areas when you are using ABA therapy. We have our senior therapist, our home therapist, speech therapist and our first line of therapy is my wife and I. The wait times are crucial before these children enter school and here is where we all hit the road blocks. Right now, there is no way our son will see an occupational therapist before he goes to school in September. We have been on the waiting list for months and have to make some serious and very costly decisions; one will be going outside the province for Occupational Therapy.
    All of us going through this feel the frustration. My wife has written everyone in Government and with Eastern Health, but to no avail to have extra funding in this area. It does us all no good to unleash our anger and frustration on anyone going through the same, no matter where they moved to or are going to try and better their childs future. We need to keep coming together and fighting for better wait times and more resources not slamming this woman and family for moving back and forth. If she has felt the frustration perhaps this article may bring more people together and talk about it.
    Keep patient with your home therapist everyone! You will find the perfect fit sooner or later and they will be the key to your childs development. I could never thank our therapist enough for the work done over the past 9 or 10 months. I would mortgage my home over and over again to keep her with us but unfortunately she will further her education and our son will lose time after he enters school.
    Lets keep fighting together collectively not with each other.

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Nellie Retieff - I fully agree that all Canadian citizens have the right to access healthcare - I am not critical of that. The story suggests that the only moitivation that the Bateman's had to move to NL was to access a higher level of subsidized care than what was available in N.B. Our health care system delivered what it promised, but now Mrs. Bateman feels that the quality of care is not adequate for her children's needs. Perhaps if there were less people similar to the Batemans uprooting and moving back to NL, our resources would go further for those that were born here to parents that paid into the taxes that established the service. I personally would have no issue with a 6 month plus wait time for those that cannot prove the reason that they moved 'home' was to avail of taxpayer funded services. Our system is strained enough as it is - we do not need to recruit new patients.

  • Stop
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Do you have any idea how long the wait lists for for pre-school age children with a disability other than autism?
    Mrs. Bateman, I have been waiting for service for months for my child (who does not have a diagnosis of autism). The law here states that no case of autism is required to wait. Therefore, you are telling me you are complaining when you have little supervision? I do believe the supervision with the program is either weekly or every other week. Whereas I am on a waitlist and my child could age out before I am served? You should think about your actions before going so public with them. Obviously, you do not know how good you have it. Send your home therapists and senior therapists to someone else who would actually value and appreciate them for all the hard work they do.

  • Disbelief
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I don't think that it's right to accuse a parent of making excuses when there is little help out their for them. The workers are overworked and there is such a long period of people waiting for help and therapy that the Newfoundland government should take a closer look at this. Although I do not have a child so is is Autistic, my friend who is a single mom has two boys that are. To get them diagnosed is one of hardest parts and to get the help that they need is even harder. She has gone through many home therapists and it's not because she's not a good employer but not many people have the time or patience to be able to work with a child that has a disablility. AUTISM is a disablility and the kids need to be taken care of. Most parents are taking the steps that they need to do but there still needs to be more government support. No matter where Mrs. Bateman lives, her two boys deserve the right to have therapy they need in order to overcome obstacles such as the speech therapy and they need to get quicker than they have been receiving it. The most important stages of development is age 5 and under so this is the most critical time for these kids to receive the therapy that they need. Also to include this rant is not all parents have the financial ability to be able to pay for this therapy.

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Since only the sons have Autism, I'm wondering if the Bateman's had their son's tested for Fragile-X Syndrome as well as Autism?

    Usually, if male children in the family have Autism, but female children don't, its likely there's a case of Fragile-X Syndrome.

    Too bad the parents are not making enough effort to work with their children to treat Autism instead of making excuses and relying on government all the time.

  • chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I think people need to realize that Crystal is a mother and as such she should not be the one providing sit-down ABA therapy to her sons. Yes, she obviously has to educate them and help them like any parent, but once she starts providing structured therapy she becomes a therapist to her children and not their mom. That's why this service is available, if not, why not just train all the parents and be done with the hiring and paying of home therapists?

    I also think she is completely right in saying ABA therapists are undertrained. I am one myself and have been for over two years with two different children and I can tell you that the 3 day course did little to prepare me. So to the posters here that say their therapist is great and wonderful and Crystal just hired the wrong people, I'd attribute that to your therapist and the type of person they are, not their training. Many parents aren't so lucky and end up having a therapist who is just doing it because it pays more than minimum wage and fits well into their school schedule. For the most part, that's what this is to many people - an after-school or summer job.
    The job requires NO experience and NO training ( training is usually provided after you are hired by the parents).

    Furthermore, as one person posted above, ABA therapists get no benefits, no workers comp, no sick leave, and low pay. So what it comes down to is that therapists (and anyone who takes care of children or the elderly really) are underappreciated and undervalued in NL so it only makes sense that they would be undertrained as well.

  • w
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Please let's not get away from the fact, that the children need help here. The mom has two boy's with autism and i can appreciate how hard it must be for her. why not move home... it's where she came from.... she was trying to do what she thought was best. As for our medical system here in nfld when it comes to autism... we are so behind the times.Be that it may be due to lack of autism workers,, aba workers.. money..whatever reason you want to through out there... these are the facts....and the children that need help suffer because of it. I also have a little boy with autism and had to wait a 16 months for speech and ot. These waits are way to long in thre little lives when early intervention helps the most. I have a amazing aba worker who does a great job but again she still needs the speech and ot which is only every couple of months far from enough time for any child. I think it's aabout time the goverment takes a good look at our lack of programs available for autism here and remember these children are also the future of society. Good Luck and keep up the fight!!!!!

  • Cassie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Crystal,

    After being a part of the Newfoundland autism community for a stretch of time, and seeing first hand the benefits of ABA therapy, I think that your comments are completely out of line.

    The senior therapists are hard working and VERY well trained (as a matter of fact, you are required to have experience and a masters degree just to apply for the job, and then go through a very extensive training period on top of that) and for you to say they don't have a clue is ridiculous. The senior therapists that I have worked with all knew the children very well, and had many comments and suggestions to make. The children made great progress in a short period of time, and loved to spend time with both the therapist and senior therapist.

    I acknowledge that you took a few weeks of training from a New Brunswick college, but I trust the experts on this one who have many years of experience. After seeing the progress of more than a few children - and the happy parents who have embraced the program instead of criticizing it - I have to say that while there is improvements to be made, the senior therapists are doing a great job and you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Alisha
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Hey Crystal, It's Alisha Gainforth....Im not sure you remember me but I worked at the NB agency with you a year ago and Im now in St.John's going to school and working as a home therapist! I understand a lot of what youre going through, I know youre life must be crazy busy right now but if you find the time and want to go out for coffee and talk, maybe I can help or something? or at least offer support. my email is arg030@mun.ca

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Just a thought; why not wait just one month more before moving to keep the long-awaited appointment at the Janeway?
    I know you certainly need help, but you're a step ahead of most parents with autistic children because of your training and experience. Would one
    more month make much of a difference to stay here for the October appointment? You'll never know, otherwise, that maybe there could be/could have been positive results. And what if you have to start from scratch all over again in N.B.?
    Yes, the Health Care System in very, very frustrating and unfair, and the long wait times are devastating. I'm not in your shoes, I realize that, but my friend's son, who is now thirteen, has autism, so I am a little bit familiar with what you are going through.
    God Bless You.

  • Leah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Disbelief, Crystal and her husband are uprooting the family once again, and will have to start at the bottom of a wait list all over again in N.B. She has an appointment here at the Janeway in October, so why leave in September and go to the bottom of a wait list in N.B.? The wait list may not be so lengthy in N.B., but surely it won't be before October. Her waiting time here is just about over, and she's going to uproot these two little boys and start all over again???? Is that in THEIR best interest???

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Okay, Ms. Bateman you moved here only to take advantage of our health system and then criticize it in the Telegram. Should I assume that you also made the same complaint about NB Health in the local New Brunswick papers before moving here? So now you are going back to NB; where you admit that the care is worse huh? Well dear, good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out!

  • Joey from NL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I couldn't agree more with Brian. Although you must be frustrated, you'll need to learn to handle it in a different way. Good bye!

  • Jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Ms. Bateman, first of all it always stricks home when you hear about these kind of things; especially when as myself as well have a 5 yr old daughter with Autism and also a Motor Speech But with taht said I have to agree with many of the comments above,. it is unfair to say that the therapya dn wait times youa re getting are not good enough. We have been doing ABA, speech Ot and much more with our daughter and it has and still is making a huge difference! And yes there is long waits for speech etc but that is in many if not all provinces adn you can't except to skip ahead of other children adn families a waiting the same therapy. And i love that our senior therpaist refreshes themsleves and are prepaired when coming to see our child; its just like what a teacher does to get ready for a class. I also have many of the same trainings as yourself, so I do have an understand of what you mean with quality time, but isnt that your home therapist and your job as an employer to be aware if a persons tactics arent working? I certainly would NOT want a senior therapist doing speech with my child,.. they never went to school to do speech therapy. They do behavioral therapy, as such the would be able to Occupational Therapy. They can add suggestions on how to go about therapy until you are seen. As we and many other families ahve done and do,.. and when you start and get a consistant therapist in aba and everything else just falls in place. Every child is very different as you would know with 2 children on the spectrum; but really tkaes a good year to see any progress of what your child's ability is. And up rooting and starting over.. isnt that change again,.. going to cause a delay in therapy for a child any how? well all in all i wish your family all the best but i do suggesst not making things so black and white when you are just one family out of many in this province who use the same programing and serivces to better our children to what they can!

  • sad but true
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Your frustrations are shared by many, appreciated by few. Sadly, the ones who hold the power to bring about a positive change, they are the few.
    A problem needing a solution, now.

  • Forthright
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Hmm. Seems to me this woman is looking for respite care - not autism care.

  • Parent of ASD child
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    I understand Ms. Batemans frustration with waiting lists as my son has been waiting to see an occupational therapist for 17 months now with another estimated 2-3 to go. But I have to say that our Senior Therapist is very educated has been wonderful at recognizing my sons strengths and weaknesses and subsequently developing the best programs for him. She too is not specialized in speech therapy but has been working with our speech pathologist and is able to incorporate his speech requirements into his programs. Our home therapist is also very educated and has done wonders for our son so far. Overall, we are extremely pleased with the program and his progress.

  • Cheri
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    What she's saying about not doing the therapy herself with her kids is true: I watched what our therapist had to do with my son in order to get him to where he is today. I could not have done it because sometimes it required so much discipline to make him sit there and work. It broke my heart because there were many days when he didn't want to do the work and I probably would have given in to his crying. Our therapist had the ability to stick it out and it really paid off in the end. It's sad to hear that it's not working out for them because our son wouldn't be doing as well as he is today without ABA. It's not something that you can throw down and pick up again in a year's time. It needs to be constant and done at this very crucial stage in development. Good luck.

  • Sihackpunjackpinnawong
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Ur a sad soul Brian, too bad its not good riddence to a swell guy like you.

  • nelly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Robert- Im sure the Father of these children works, it would be impossible for this family to move otherwise. As a tax payer, or as a Canadian citizen, people are entitled to health care services regardless of what province one habituates, and regardless of ability to pay. the point is about the issue, that kids with autism have a window for development in their early years. the more independence these children obtain the more long term cost savings to the Canadian health system.

  • Huh
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Theyre gettign 16 hours extra for free and nobody is good enough? Seriously? Any idea of what that costs? Perhaps if the quality isn't high enough for them, they should pay for it themselves.

    How would you feel if you were one of those hard working educated young women and this person, who's child you helped, had an article written in the telegram about how bad a job you are doing?

    They appear overworked? Perhaps we should cut down the number of hours a week given to each child? We are doing over 2x what NB was.

  • Tally
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    well for starters, the parents do the hiring, so if you hire underqualified, unmotivated individuals, then you get underqualified and unmotivated workers. My son graduated from aba 2 years ago, and the 2 home therapists i hired were amazing, both had backgrounds in psychology and took part in a 3 day training and then were supervised by the senior therapist. But the issue is that when one of the workers was not doing what i needed (which we later found out was because they had an ailing parent), the senior therapist had no ability to actually address this, as I was the employer, and not eastern health. I knew my sr. therapist was furstrated at my home therapist, but i was in a bind so kept this worker. eventually it all worked itself out, but this poor sr. therapist worked her butt off when my worker was slacking. And my sr. therapist went out of her way to get to know my child and visited the daycare, went to speech therapy visits and OT and even went to my child's school when he entered kindergarten.

    But we need to remmeber that each sr. therapist is actually certified in ABA and has to go through an extensive process to receive the sr. therapist title. They also have mentoring, and a manager above them. So i think if you are having issues, maybe its because of your frustration with the diagnosis, or maybe with being an employer, which are the 2 things that were hardest on me. But my son went from no verbal skills to now being fluent. I thank my sr. therapists and all involved for the hard work they put in for my child. Even the sr. therapists dont make as much as they would if they lived elsewehre. And home therapists get no workers comp, no sick leave, and low pay.

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    While I sympathize with Mrs. Bateman's family challenges, I can't help but question the ethics of moving her family to NL in the first place. Our health care resources are scarce, and to relocate from N.B. to N.L. smacks of a welfare attitude where she's willing to go where she gets the best financial assistance from government. I have a close friend in Ontario (who was born in this province) with an autistic child who currently is paying over $30,000 per year out of pocket for the same services that are offered in NL for free. Rather than pull up stakes and head home to save on the cost of therapy, he is making personal sacrifices to get his son the care that he requires. NL is miles ahead of other jurisdictions in providing care for autistic children, but our resources are finite and are not capable of accomodating every ex-pat who wish to move back to the province strictly to save money on health care expenses.

  • L
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I agree with Brian from Newfoundland ...Why the hell did you move here anyway...I have a son with Tourett's syndrome and I can't receive the help he needs. You don't see me picking up and moving...Good bye Now!!!

  • Interesting
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I find this article very interesting for a number of reasons. I agree with both sides of this story to an extent as I have a child with autism.

    First I do agree with the complaint about waiting for professional services at the janeway. i want to point out that it is extremely sad that any child with special needs, including Autism, has to wait for any type of service. This includes speech, OT, a pediatrician, etc. Right now the waitlists in this province our out of control. And while I can't speak to how things are going in other provinces I can speak to how things are happening here. More parents do need to speak out about their frustrations with the healthcare system in this province because everyone should be an advocate for their own child and talk about what they need. Waiting 14 months for a speech pathologist or 18 months for an occupational therapist or 10-12 months to see a developmental pediatrician is unacceptable when a child's best shot at life is getting these services before the age of 5. My child was seen by an ot at the daycare and now that position has been cut off early. so now we have to wait to see an ot at the janeway for another year or more when we have been making huge gains with my child, it hardly seems right.

    However, these comments are not to be confused, i do not agree with much that this parent has said about the aba program. You have hired 4 therapists for your child since you moved back here in august? did you ever think that maybe you haven't given one of those therapists a chance to learn and work with the senior therapist? who are very educated and great at what they do. you are correct that senior therapists are over worked and that extra visits and time spent on education would be quite helpful but that isn't a luxury we have at this point so we have to work with these people to help them work with our children. tranistions are never easy for kids, you should maybe rethink uprooting your children again, it may cause more problems that a 14 month waitlist for speech therapy.

  • dianne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Just a comment on the Ontario programs. In Ontarios, it is almost always required that these therapists complete a 2-3 year college diploma specifically related to autism therapy.

    In NL, all that is required is to have completed 2 years of uni with a major in psychology. Having taken psychology, I honestly learned maybe 1 sentence about autism in those 2 years. Yes, Ontario citizens pay for their treatment, but they are getting quality for their money. It is too bad both quality and affordability are not offered in either province.

  • Jayme-Lee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    As a trained ABA home therapist, who has 8 years of university under my belt (in fields of psychology and social work), I think mom needs to stop ridiculing the people who are doing all they can for her, and start looking at what more SHE can do.

    ABA home therapy is not a good paying job, so to keep people its difficult. And having a parent who is ungrateful is only going to make that job LESS desirable. I've personally worked with 2 families, the first did not work out and I ended the relationship, however I have been with my current family for going on 2 years and the achievements myself, the child, the parents, and the senior therapist have made are amazing.

    I think mom needs to realize that because our workers are strained for time, the amount of visits is impossible. There are many many families in St. John's alone who rely on but a few trained senior therapist. If mom is trained as an ABA therapist, then maybe helping her hired ABA therapist out when he/she is lost might be an option. As they say, two heads are better than one!

    My final word:
    When things don't meet your standards, maybe you should attempt to look in the mirror first at what you could do better, instead of blaming individuals who are already breaking their backs for the countless families like yours.

  • Lindsey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    It sounds like you should have better judgement when hiring home therapists. Perhaps it is not necessarily the program that is not working, but an inability to act as an employer
    Ms. Bateman, moving back and forth from New Brunswick to Newfoundland is not going to change the diagnosis for your children.
    Though I can appreciate you being an advocate, we are very fortunate to have a wonderful program within our province. Having a child myself that has gone through this program, as well as a large supportive community, we have not encountered any problems to the extent of what you are reporting.
    Perhaps you should have researched things further before making this move for your children.
    I see this more of a personal issue and one that you need to deal with as a parent.

  • crystal
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    thank you guys for all your opinions about this article. First of all, let me be clear that the cost is not the issue...it is of no charge to us in NB or in NL. second, we did not admit that the care is worse in NB, it is extremely good, and we admired the professionals who worked with our children; merely that, it has been researched and proven that MORE hours are of great benefit to children with Autism. Also, I work tirelessly with all of my children...and it should be understood that teaching children with autism is very different then teaching a typical child , and it is very difficult to be objective with your own children.....your emotions make you give in to them, and that is not beneficial for them. By the way, both my husband and i work, and pay taxes like many other people in this province, and I have the right to expect these things from my government. And people who aren't working, still pay taxes on anything they buy. This is a matter of our rights in this wonderful country of ours. There are different levels of autism, and every case is different.....unfortunately, I have had a negative experience with supervision and input. Also, the therapists that i have right now are doing the best they know how, and they could develop into great teachers given the guidance. Unfortunately the university educated people will not work for the wage that eastern health pays for this position. Also, if we do go back to NB, their speech therapy starts in 3 weeks or less, because that is the policy in NB. And this is also covered under medicare. Let me stress, this is not about money or convenience...... this is about CHILDREN WITH ASD AND THEIR RIGHTS TO BECOME ALL THAT THEY DESERVE TO BECOME. I hope that some of this enlightens some people who did not quite understand some of the dilemmas and actions taken by us. thank you

  • Margaret
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Lindsey, I certainly agree with your Post.
    The mother has training, as well as experience, with autistic children, and if she is a stay-at-home Mom, she'd understand more than anyone else the special needs and moods and actions, etc., of her sons, so she'd be best to work with them.

  • K.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    While I too sympathize with your situation, I completely disagree with your view on the quality of services that Eastern Health provides for children diagnosed with ASD. When our child was diagnosed 3 years ago, we too looked into relocating to Ontario to receive better services. In our research we learned that we were right where we needed to be, home. Home where family was there to support us. Home where we were a person and not a number. Our experience with Eastern health did have some hiccups initially, but once everything fell into place ABA therapy helped recover our child. Our support team ( senior therapist, OT ,Speech and home therapist) have been nothing but outstanding. They are there to offer insight and support. I believe that without these people we would never have recovered our child. The autism society too provided support groups, and information sessions and we formed our own support system of friends who could relate to what we were going through.
    While I do agree that more staffing could better the situation, I believe staff shortages are going to be where ever you go..NB, NL ON. The quality of the therapy our child has received has been exceptional. If a service was not readliy available, my husband and I made personal sacrifices to receive the care our child needed ( Private speech, OT, etc).
    In closing to go through as many home therapists that you have, maybe you need to re-evalaute your hiring practices.
    Early intervention in children with ASD is crucial and instead of wasting your energy complaining to the local paper, you should focus your energy into finding the services your sons need.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Therapy has to tie in from many areas when you are using ABA therapy. We have our senior therapist, our home therapist, speech therapist and our first line of therapy is my wife and I. The wait times are crucial before these children enter school and here is where we all hit the road blocks. Right now, there is no way our son will see an occupational therapist before he goes to school in September. We have been on the waiting list for months and have to make some serious and very costly decisions; one will be going outside the province for Occupational Therapy.
    All of us going through this feel the frustration. My wife has written everyone in Government and with Eastern Health, but to no avail to have extra funding in this area. It does us all no good to unleash our anger and frustration on anyone going through the same, no matter where they moved to or are going to try and better their childs future. We need to keep coming together and fighting for better wait times and more resources not slamming this woman and family for moving back and forth. If she has felt the frustration perhaps this article may bring more people together and talk about it.
    Keep patient with your home therapist everyone! You will find the perfect fit sooner or later and they will be the key to your childs development. I could never thank our therapist enough for the work done over the past 9 or 10 months. I would mortgage my home over and over again to keep her with us but unfortunately she will further her education and our son will lose time after he enters school.
    Lets keep fighting together collectively not with each other.