The Canadian Press, 30/05/2003
Canada is "a developing country" when it comes to government funding for treatment of Asperger's syndrome, a spokeswoman for the illness said on May 30.
Margot Nelles, who has three children with Asperger's, said she would like to see the Ontario government put the same funding effort into Asperger's as it does for autism. More research was needed to understand Asperger's, which affects nearly 200,000 Canadians, said Nelles, the founder of the Aspergers Society of Ontario.
"I see Asperger's as the mother of all neurological disorders," Nelles said in an interview at the society's national conference. "And there are no reliable statistics about it in Canada. None."
Asperger's syndrome is believed by many to be a milder form of autism characterised by poor social and communication skills, especially the inability to pick up on body language and social cues. Hypersensitivity and anxiety are also common, as well as an obsessive focus on detail.
The province of Ontario funds intensive behavioural intervention therapy for autistic children at a cost of about Canadian$50,000 per child per year, but there is no such funding for Asperger.
Earlier this week, the parents of a six-year-old autistic boy in central Ontario praised a court order requiring the province to continue funding the child's therapy. The government's policy has been to cut off funding once the child turns six.