Progress and gaps in Quebec’s autism policy: A comprehensive review and thematic analysis

TitleProgress and gaps in Quebec’s autism policy: A comprehensive review and thematic analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZeidan, J, Shikako-Thomas, K, Ehsan, A, Maioni, A, Elsabbagh, M
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
KeywordsAutism, Autisme, Policy, Politiques, Québec, Services, www2

ObjectiveConsistent with a national and global trend, prevalence estimates of autism have risen steadily in Quebec, causing concerns regarding quality and availability of diagnostic and intervention services as well as policies guiding service delivery and their efficacy. We conducted an analysis of Quebec’s autism policies to determine recent advances, challenges and gaps in the planning and delivery of provincial autism services.MethodsWe identify autism policy priorities in Quebec through a comprehensive review and a thematic analysis of past and present policies, consider their compliance with national and international human rights and health frameworks and identify policy gaps.ResultsAutism policies articulated at a provincial level in Quebec are comprehensive, well grounded in international and national frameworks and considerate of existing barriers in the systems. Quebec policies reflect long-standing recognition of many barriers affecting service utilization and quality. Root cause of challenges currently confronting the policy environment in Quebec includes limitations in: specific measures to enhance a person-centred approach across the lifespan, evaluation of economic costs associated with autism, utilization of research evidence, and enactment of policies.ConclusionEarly intervention services, building capacity in existing resources through training programs, and integrating research through research translation initiatives can help the Québec government improve the quality and efficacy of services while reducing long-term costs to the systems and promoting quality of life for individuals with autism and their families.