What is FEAT BC?
FEAT BC is a non-profit, volunteer organization of parents and concerned professionals working for universal access to effective autism treatment for all children diagnosed with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.
FEAT BC accepts no money from governments and all the financial contributions to FEAT BC are directed towards making effective autism treatment available to everyone regardless of ability to pay.
FEAT BC History
The founders of FEAT BC were parents of children with autism who were also the case managers for their children’s autism intensive behavioural treatment programs based on the advancements achieved through the work of Dr. Ivar Lovaas on applied behavioural analysis (ABA).
ABA therapy had worked so well that these parents decided to establish FEAT BC in 1996 with the goal of helping other parents and their children benefit from the leading edge methods used so effectively with their own children.
A second very important reason for the establishment of FEAT BC was to publicize the fact that the British Columbia (B.C.) Government had not made available funding for medically necessary and effective autism treatment.
Landmark court cases include:
In the Auton case (2002), parents argued that denying their children medically necessary ABA treatment was discrimination under the Canadian Rights and Freedoms Act. This lawsuit was won in B.C., but later struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Hewko case (2006) was initiated to fight for the right to ABA in B.C. classrooms. This lawsuit was won in B.C. and never appealed.
In short, parents have the right to be part of the collaborative Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process and their child’s needs must be heard and addressed in the classroom setting. Secondly, the school teaching staff must have instructional control over the child. This means that the child needs access to an ABA-trained teaching assistant at all times.
Although, the Hewko judgment is now legal precedent, getting an ABA-trained assistant is still not guaranteed. In many school districts, parents continue to struggle and may need to take legal action.
FEAT BC has been the unifying force for parents to work together to attempt to change an unjust health care system. Choosing to fight for the future of a child with autism should not result in personal financial ruin or family breakup. Families must not fight alone. Since the establishment of FEAT BC, there have been hundreds of parents in this province running therapy teams and providing ABA treatment to their children under the supervision of highly trained professionals.