Regina - November 7, 2001 - New Release, Autism Society President Lisa Simmermon


Dr. Janet Butz, originally from Nipawin, will be returning home to Saskatchewan for a week from her current location in Las Vegas, Nevada to work with several families in Nipawin, Tisdale and Swift Current who have a child with an autism condition and their schools.

500 children

Saskatchewan does not have a universally available effective autism treatment program, which means that families and schools struggle to learn about and organize effective autism treatments. While six children are currently served by the excellent Autism Early Childhood Therapy Program in Saskatoon, the rest of Saskatchewan’s close to 500 children with autism conditions are served by the best efforts of their local communities, which unfortunately is rarely what published research and documented best practices recommends for effective autism treatment. As a result, several families have turned to outside help by using Dr. Butz as a consultant to train, carry out program development and supervise a program of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for their children.




Trained at the University of Saskatchewan, California State University Dominguez Hills, and Rutgers State University, she is near to completing her BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) certification. As well, she is trained in the use of the best autism condition diagnostic assessment tool, the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule); only a handful of professionals in Saskatoon and none in Regina have this training.




Discussions have been ongoing for years with Saskatchewan Health, Education and Social Services about the universal provision of effective autism treatments and adequate family supports, but very little progress has occurred. The Regina Autism Resource Centre, Saskatchewan Autism Workshops in Saskatoon, and more recently, Saskatchewan Education have been providing invaluable seminars on autism conditions, but these are not a substitute for actual effective treatment provision to families in their communities. SASKFEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) has sponsored two seminars provided by Dr. Butz in an effort to provide specific information on ABA autism treatment programs.



up 63%

Autism Society Canada reports that Canada has seen an average increase of 63% in reported number of autism condition cases in the past two years. With a lifetime estimated cost of $2 million for people with autism conditions for whom treatments are ineffective, inappropriate or inaccessible due to political or financial reasons, the increase in reported cases means that our society faces significant financial consequences. However, research has shown that those costs can be cut in half with the provision of an accurate and early diagnosis, effective autism treatments based on best practices, and adequate family supports.



age of

In Saskatchewan, though, we have a long way to go as the average age of diagnosis is almost 8, and research indicates that effective treatments result in best outcomes when initiated by age 4. Clearly, the situation must change. In six other provinces, families have turned or are in the process of turning to litigation as a means to accelerate change.




Last year, the British Columbia Supreme Court determined that effective treatment for autism in the form of ABA was a medical necessity, and that non-provision by the Government of B.C. constituted discrimination. Last week, 99 families in Quebec announced a class action lawsuit against their provincial government for lack of provision of intensive behavioral intervention for their children with autism conditions.




Until the Saskatchewan situation changes dramatically, families will be compelled to seek outside assistance for their children with autism conditions. Dr. Butz is one resource families across Saskatchewan can consider. For more information on autism conditions in Saskatchewan, contact the Saskatchewan Society for the Autistic in Regina at 306-545-0966, and for more information on ABA and contacting Dr. Butz, please call SASKFEAT (Saskatchewan Families for Effective Autism Treatment) in Nipawin at 306-862-4768.
  Lisa Simmermon
President, Autism Society Canada
President, Saskatchewan Society for the Autistic
82 Hastings Cr.
Regina, SK Canada S4T 7N7
H (306) 545-0966 H,B, Fax (306) 545-3100
  Additional notes from Lisa Simmermon
  Autism Society of Canada web site