SaskFEATSaskatchewan Families For Effective Autism Treatment
View: Last 5 Posts | Last 10 Posts | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | All
- submitted: Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 11:02

- submitted: Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 10:41

- submitted: Friday, October 6, 2017 - 16:11

- submitted: Monday, August 28, 2017 - 09:11

good morning
There have been questions raised about the number of Individuals that have been diagnosed with ASD in Saskatchewan. This is SaskFEAT's response.
As President of SaskFEAT and the Saskatchewan Director for Autism Canada, I have obtained this information from the Government of Canada Web site. Please note that in Saskatchewan there are no provincial standardized protocols for diagnosis, treatment and or professional qualifications. . SaskFEAT has been advocating for standardized protocols for diagnosis, treatment and or professional qualifications for over 16 years. Specific provincial standards for accessibility and best practices in the field of Autism must be in place, before accurate numbers of Individuals that have been diagnosed with ASD can be correctly obtained.
Arden C. Fiala
SaskFEAT President
Saskatchewan Representative – Provincial and Territorial Council – Autism Canada
Surveillance of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Discover how autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is monitored.
On this page
• How many people are living with ASD in Canada?
• How does Canada monitor ASD disorder?
• For more information
How many people are living with ASD in Canada?
In Canada, there has been an increase in the prevalence of ASD.
A 2010 Canadian study of select provinces found that approximately 1 in 94 children has a diagnosis of ASD. Overall, current studies show that boys are almost 5 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of ASD than girls.
How does Canada monitor ASD?
It is not yet possible to accurately report on the prevalence and incidence of ASD for Canada as a whole. Surveillance is required to obtain these data.
Public health surveillance is a core public health function. The cycle of surveillance involves the:
• tracking and forecasting of a health event or determinant through the ongoing collection of data
• integration, analysis and interpretation of these data into knowledge products
• distribution of knowledge products to those who need it and can take necessary action or respond to the findings
National ASD Surveillance System
Currently, there is no comprehensive, comparable, national-level data available on ASD in Canada, although repositories of data across Canada exist. Developing a national surveillance system will help improve the information and evidence-base needed to help Canadians.
The National ASD Surveillance System (NASS) aims to address the impacts of ASD, such as health and social effects. It is being developed to track ASD among children and youth first and will eventually include adults living with ASD.
Tracking ASD will include national and regional case and rate estimates and key patterns and trends. NASS will provide the evidence to inform planning of:
• services
• research
• programs
The results will impact Canadians living with ASD as well as their families and caregivers.
The development and implementation of NASS is supported by a PHAC secretariat. NASS is guided by the advice of an ASD surveillance advisory committee. The committee comprises experts from across Canada in the areas of:
• surveillance
• diagnosis and intervention
• education and knowledge policy
• education and knowledge translation
This committee also includes representatives from national stakeholder organizations.
Data sources
NASS is possible only through the collaboration of stakeholders, data holders, and key experts in provinces and territories across Canada.
Where possible, provincial and territorial partners contribute standardized data to NASS for a comprehensive picture of ASD across Canada. These anonymized data are based on existing administrative databases. In some cases, the data are linked from multiple sources, such as the health, education and social services sectors.
For more information

Self-Directed Funding Demonstration Project a Success - submitted: Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 15:40





Self-Directed Funding Demonstration Project a Success

Released on September 21, 2016

Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor today announced the future implementation of a self-directed funding (SDF) model for individuals who experience intellectual disabilities to give them greater choice over their life decisions.  Self-directed funding allows individuals experiencing intellectual disabilities to choose supports that meet their needs and help them reach their goals.

Currently, funding to clients goes through community-based organizations, but under SDF, goes directly to the individual.  This allows individuals and their support team to decide which supports and services they access depending on their own unique needs and aspirations.  Minister Beaudry-Mellor joined participants of the SDF Demonstration Project and their families to celebrate the positive impact and successes of this approach.

“The result of the SDF pilot has been remarkable,” Beaudry-Mellor said.  “I look forward to working with the disability community to find ways for even more people across the province to experience the success that the project participants have had.  SDF aligns with the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy by providing individuals experiencing disabilities with more effective supports and services, as well as a greater sense of dignity in gaining more independence.”

Lynn Schaan, whose son Daniel was a participant in the project, joined Minister Beaudry-Mellor at the announcement, which took place in Daniel’s home.  Through SDF, Daniel now lives independently with a roommate (his brother) and has trained support staff visit when needed.

“Self-directed funding allows Danny the freedom and choice to create a unique plan of daily living that puts joy in his life, light in his eyes, hope in his dreams and the safe environment to grow, mature and become the best he can be,” Schaan said.  “I am overwhelmed by Danny's growth in the past 10 months.  Like every parent, I hoped and dreamed that Danny would have a good life if he had the appropriate supports, and self-directed funding has given Danny that opportunity.  I am so grateful.”

The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) is a community-based organization that works to ensure that individuals experiencing intellectual disabilities are valued, supported, and included, and have opportunities and choices in all aspects of life.  The Ministry of Social Services partnered with SACL to provide facilitation and navigational services to participants and their families during the demonstration project.

“The Saskatchewan Disability Strategy talks about making supports for people with disabilities more person-centred, and self-directed funding is one way to make that happen,” SACL Director of Strategic Initiatives Judy Hannah said.  “Self-directed funding allows people with intellectual disabilities to create a plan for their lives.  SACL is so pleased to have been a part of the project.  It has been incredibly exciting to see the changes in the lives of each of the individuals and families involved.”

SACL produced a video demonstrating the positive impact of SDF that can be viewed at

A self-directed funding option was one of the recommendations put forward by the Valley View Centre Transition Steering Committee in 2013.  The Committee recognized that some individuals were unable to access certain supports through the former funding model, and that a funding model with more choices and autonomy would personalize the supports and services available to individuals transitioning from Valley View Centre into communities across Saskatchewan.  The self-directed funding model will be implemented province-wide beginning April 1, 2017.

Individuals and families who are interested in this opportunity can talk to their Community Living Service Delivery worker for more information.


For more information, contact:

Leya Moore
Social Services
Phone: 306-787-3610

in memory of Michael J. Lewis - submitted: Monday, September 12, 2016 - 15:54


Michael J. Lewis

1950 – 2016

Michael will be forever remembered as one of the greatest autism advocates in Canada.  He was also a wonderful family and business man.

His journey in autism began when his son was diagnosed 19 years ago.  He immediately became involved in the Autism Society of British Columbia (ASBC). Michael served as a Director for ASBC from 2000-2015 and President of their Board for 10 years. Michael, his wife Jean, and a number of other families were active in organizing and directing several legal initiatives in British Columbia including Auton, Anderson and Hewko.

Michael served on Autism Society Canada’s Board of Directors for several years and had held the position of President.  Most recently he was very involved with the amalgamation of Autism Society Canada and Autism Canada Foundation.   He was elected to the new Board and served as the Chair of the Provincial and Territorial Council and sat on the Finance and Audit Committee.

He was also the Past President of the British Columbia Boys Choir and a past member of the Finance and Audit Committee for the District of West Vancouver.  In the fall of 2008 and again in 2011, Michael was elected in the district of West Vancouver as a Councillor.  He also served on other non-profit organizations over the years.

Michael will be greatly missed by Autism Canada’s Board, staff and his colleagues on the Provincial and Territorial Council.

** A private family service will be held on Monday August 15, 2016 followed by a public celebration of life from 2:00 to 4:30 pm at the Gleneagles Golf Course Clubhouse (6190 Marine Drive, West Vancouver).

The family has requested no flowers please.  For those wishing to give some form of remembrance we suggest considering a contribution to the most firmly held belief, and committed cause, of Michael’s life: “Medicare for Autism Now”.  Donations can be made, or information found, at

Individualized Funding For Autism Spectrum Disorder March 15, 2016 - submitted: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 17:57

Individualized Funding For Autism Spectrum Disorder

March 15, 2016


SaskFEAT has been contacted by the SaskParty in regards to today's announcement "Individualized Funding For Autism Spectrum Disorder March 15, 2016" SaskFEAT also received a written response to the two questions from the SaskFEAT Toolkit that were presented to the SaskParty. The SaskParty's written response will be posted tomorrow.



- submitted: Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 14:15

This year, Autism Canada celebrates 40 years of advocacy, support and hope.
To begin, here is our 40th anniversary-inspired edition of Faces of Autism.


This year, Autism Canada celebrates 40 years of advocacy, support and hope.
We will be using#AC40 to symbolize this milestone over social media and we encourage you to help us spread the word. We have some very exciting initiatives in store. To begin, here is our 40th anniversary-inspired edition of Faces of Autism.

*Please note: All pictures were voluntarily submitted to us with consent to be shared on Autism Canada's social media.

What is DISC? - submitted: Monday, January 18, 2016 - 10:07

What is DISC?
The Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC) is made up of a large cross section of disability advocates, consumers and organizations from across Saskatchewan who are committed to advocating for a respectful, dignified and adequate income support system. As partners in a non-partisan
coalition, DISC members have joined together to speak as one voice, working towards a distinct (or separate) income system for people with disabilities that is built on our common vision and principles.

To read the complete DISC Publication, and/or for more information and to learn more about DISC, go to


- submitted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 20:03


Have a look:

- submitted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 19:01

Félicitations Tom Jackman, un des auteurs contribuant à ce livre, “Autism: The Gift That Needs to Be Opened”. Vous êtes une source d'inspiration et Autisme Canada ne peut pas être plus fiers de vous avoir sur notre conseil d'administration et président du comité consultatif de TSA.…/autism-the-gift-that-needs-…/

Congratulations Tom Jackman, one of the authors contributing to this book, "Autism: the gift that needs to be opened". You are a source of inspiration and Autism Canada can't be more proud to have you on our board of directors and chairman of the advisory committee of TSA.…/autism-the-gift-that-needs-…/

Kids with autism shouldn’t spend school days in survival mode - submitted: Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 20:25

Kids with autism shouldn’t spend school days in survival mode
Autism Nova Scotia executive director Cynthia Carroll: “We emphatically believe that our school system should support the use of specialized learning environments for those particularly affected by sensory issues ...” (PETER PARSONS/FILE)
Autism Nova Scotia executive director Cynthia Carroll: “We emphatically believe that our school system should support the use of specialized learning environments for those particularly affected by sensory issues ...” (PETER PARSONS/FILE)

Following the Oct. 30 report of recommendations from the Minister’s Panel on Education, there has been a lot of discussion around inclusion in our public school system in Nova Scotia.

These discussions have unfortunately resulted in a heated and misguided dialogue of inclusion vs. segregation, which is not only an inaccurate portrayal of the recommendations provided to the minister, but a disservice to those children who are struggling under the current inclusion model.

At Autism Nova Scotia, we represent Nova Scotians with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and as such, we need to look at how our public school system can best serve children with ASD.

As things stand today, there’s room for improvement.

We want to be clear; we believe in an inclusive education system for all children in Nova Scotia. We are adamant that we do not go backwards to segregated education. While some of our children are well served by the current model of inclusion, we cannot be afraid to open up discussions on whether the current system is effectively serving all students with autism, because in many cases, we know it is not.

Autism is an invisible disability, and at times this makes it harder for people to acknowledge the extra supports these children need. Children with autism often have sensory challenges that include an aversion to bright lights and loud sounds. They have incredible difficulty in managing transitions from one activity to another, not to mention the challenges they face with social communication.

What we’re hearing from some of the families we represent, whose children are particularly affected by sensory issues, is that their children spend their days overstressed, focusing all their energy on managing the noises, the bright lights, the transitions from one activity to the next.

Instead of learning, they’re spending their days desperately trying to cope.

This is deeply concerning to the parents of these children, some of whom make the choice to remove their children from the classroom and provide alternative education, such as homeschooling. For some, this is a decision that works best for their family unit.

Let’s be clear, though: for other families, making the difficult choice to remove children from public school, because their sensory issues are not being accommodated in the current model of inclusion, means denying those children access to public education and the many opportunities for learning and social development that should be available to them in a fully inclusive public education system.

I’ve used this analogy before, and I think it’s very important here when we talk about the meaning of inclusion. If a child is attending school in a wheelchair, we don’t force him or her to take the stairs because that’s what all the other “typical” kids must do. We accommodate that child’s needs. This is what we are fighting for with our children — that their individual needs be accommodated so that they can be provided with the same access to education as all other children in the province.

We also need to recognize and acknowledge how public education, as the foundation upon which all future learning is built, affects the lifespan of those with autism in Nova Scotia.

This is why we emphatically believe that our school system should support the use of specialized learning environments for those particularly affected by sensory issues and others for whom the modified, inclusive classroom environment is not supportive of their learning. This will allow all children to be fully included in our schools, providing them the support they need to reach their potential and ultimately to be more fully included in their communities as adults.

It’s about investing early — to achieve long-term gains.

Karen Casey, minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, responded to the recommendations of her panel last week, and we applaud her for leaving the door open to examine our current model of inclusivity.

We’ll go even further and say that we want to walk through that door and support her in improving upon the existing model of inclusion to ensure that every child in Nova Scotia receives the best possible chance for success, and that no parent is ever left without a public education option and forced to make the decision to remove a child from a public education system that is mandated to be inclusive for all children.

Cynthia Carroll is executive director, Autism Nova Scotia

Autism Society Canada’s Statement on latest estimated Prevalence Rates of ASD – June 2014 - submitted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 20:37

According to the latest estimates (March 2014) of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) 1 in every 68 children is born with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  This results in approximately 515,000 Canadians living with an ASD. This figure does not account for the numerous family members and caregivers whose lives are impacted by autism.

“New data from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network show that the estimated number of children identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise, and the picture of ASD in communities has changed. This new data can be used to promote early identification, plan for training and service needs, guide research, and inform policy so that children with ASD and their families get the help they need. CDC will continue tracking the changing number and characteristics of children with ASD, researching what puts children at risk for ASD, and promoting early identification, the most powerful tool we have now for making a difference in the lives of children. Learn the 10 things you need to know about CDC's latest ADDM Network report.”  

In May 2013 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) completed the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). The DSM is the standard reference for diagnosing mental illness and disabilities in North America, and was last fully revised in 1994. The latest version introduces a new diagnostic category called Autism Spectrum Disorder that replaces the previous diagnoses of Autistic Disorder, Asperger`s Disorder, and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder recognizes individuals with a wide range of needs, strengths and challenges. People on the autism spectrum depend on lifelong supports and services. It is the hope of ASC that the updated prevalence rates and changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) will provide a better basis for expanded access to supports and services that will result in better outcomes for those on the ASD Spectrum.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), also referred to as autism, is a neurological disorder which affects the way the brain functions, resulting in difficulties with communication and social interaction, and unusual patterns of behavior, activities and interests. Autism Society Canada actively advocates for services and support for individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), their families and their communities. Autism Society Canada's mission is to work with our many partners to address the national priorities facing the Autism Community.  Autism Society Canada is the largest collective voice for autism in Canada.

Autism Society Canada / Société canadienne de l'autisme
Toll Free: 1-866-476-8440, Tel: (613) 789-8943 direct line.

Please visit us here:




SaskFEAT benefits from donation - submitted: Friday, November 29, 2013 - 13:37

Senator Jim Munson's Bill S-206 for World Autism Awareness Day - submitted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 14:17


Speaking Notes re: Standing Cttee on Health – review of Bill S-206

October 16th, 2012 But I hesitated.

Because what I really want to talk to you about are people. I especially want to talk to you about family members and caregivers; those very people who are challenged on a daily basis to support and care for a loved one living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Let me share with you a story... A little while ago Autism Society Canada received a memorial donation from someone who, I suspected, wanted to send a gift to a charity in lieu of flowers. We are always appreciative of those who think of us at a time that must be extremely difficult. Then the next day we received a few more donations in memory of the same person.

Her name was Susan.

A couple of days passed, and yet a few more memorial donation came in for Susan. (This is not totally uncommon. Our organization may receive quite a few gifts in memoriam during the course of a year). However, I thought to myself that Susan must have been a pretty special person to have so many friends and family members who cared about her... and I felt as if Susan herself was sending us all her flowers. As is often the case with memorial gifts to a national organization: I normally do not know the deceased personally, and I am often unaware of their connection to Autism Society Canada.

This case would be different.

A couple of weeks after the first memorial gift, I received a letter from Jan, Susan’s mother. She wrote to me to tell me about Susan. You see, Susan was a mother of a child living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. She told me about how Susan fought for five years with her local school board to get her child in an appropriate class. She told me how Susan’s child did not have friends at school or in the neighbourhood. She told me how Susan felt that she had failed as a mother and as an advocate for other children with autism.

She also told me that Susan had taken her own life.

Losing Susan should not have happened.

I have chosen to recount this tragedy, which is an extreme case, to illustrate a point: there is a misnomer out there that autism is not deadly.

I beg to differ.

Awareness of Autism is clearly lacking.

I applaud Bill S-206, an Act respecting World Autism Awareness Day, which by definition takes on this issue. Ignorance of Autism can no longer be an excuse.

For Canada, this Act is essential to support the many Autism organizations striving to work together on behalf of individuals living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their caregivers across this country.

Bill S-206 also gives Canada a unique opportunity to demonstrate leadership in this area to the international community.

In closing, I would like to reaffirm the need to raise awareness on Autism Spectrum Disorders, so that tragedies like the Susan’s never reoccur. Autism Society Canada has a broad reach – our member societies work in direct contact with families, care-givers and individuals living with an ASD across this country. Our societies inform us that access to services from one province to another is indeed unequal – there exists glaring gaps in treatment and resources across this country. We believe it is time to address this, we believe it is time for a National Autism Strategy in Canada.

I would like to thank you, Madame Chair and members of this committee for your invitation to be present with you today. Thank you also to Senator Jim Munson, for your unwavering dedication in pursuing Canada’s full support of World Autism Awareness Day.

Richard Burelle

Executive Director

Autism Society Canada

Madame Chair, Committee members, Senators, Members of Parliament and guests:

I want to thank you for allowing me to represent Autism Society Canada as we give our wholehearted support to Bill S-206, an act respecting World Autism Awareness Day.

Last night, I sat down pen in hand, ready to make some notes about what I wanted to speak to you about today regarding our support of Bill S-206. I gathered all my notes beside me, including: the number of committees that ASC has, as well as their challenges and their successes; news on the advances that we had made at the Federal level; a list of hurdles that are still ahead.

Redefining Autism - Canada AM article - submitted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 20:19

This is a link to the Canada AM Website.
This is a link to an interview that was aired on Canada AM this Morning.(January 24th. 2012) Leah Miltchin is Ontario’s Director for the Autism Society Canada.

Medicare for autism now - submitted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 18:01

Please see the new link for Medicare for autism now website.

Box 483
Shaunavon, SK.
S0N 2M0