While you have been able to have total control over your child’s ABA program at home, it is quite a different matter in the school system, public or private. Most children with autism will receive Education Assistants (EAs), but there is no guarantee that the aide will be trained in ABA or that the school will allow the consultant to be closely involved in educational programming. And worse, if the EA is trained, they might get bumped by a more senior EA and you have to start the training all over again.
See our ABA in Schools section for a description of what ABA can look like in schools and how to advocate for your child.
There have been two major law suits in BC. In the Auton, 2000 (http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/naa_scd.html) lawsuit, parents argued that denying their children medically necessary ABA treatment was discrimination under the Canadian Rights and Freedoms act. If ABA was provided through medicare, this would greatly improve access to ABA in the schools. This lawsuit was won in BC, but later struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Auton 2000 decision is an excellent read to see the historical state of things in BC prior to 2000. It is thanks to the BC findings that there were many changes made in BC which included individualized funding for autism treatment (where previously there was nothing) as well as an acceptance that ABA was the best treatment for autistic children. We need to be forever grateful to those families who sacrificed their time and money for this lawsuit.
Later, the Hewko (2005) lawsuit was started to fight for the right to ABA in BC classrooms. This lawsuit was won in BC and never appealed. In short, parents have the right to be part of the collaborative IEP process and they must be listened to and taken seriously. Secondly, the school must have instructional control over the child. This second part is very powerful for making sure there is an ABA trained aide with your child. However, getting an ABA trained aide is still not a guarantee. In some BC districts, parents continue to struggle or have to threaten to sue, while in other districts well trained ABA aides are provided. The ABA Support Network will be working to improve access to ABA paraprofessionals in all school districts. If you are having difficulty with your district, you may contact us for advice or support.
Please feel free to contact the Autism Support Network at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time if you have any questions or concerns.