What you need to know:
The Manitoba government provides a number of services and programs for people with disabilities.
These include Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD), Employment and Income
Assistance (EIA), audiology and speech language pathology. These services also extend to people on
the autism spectrum and have helped numerous recipients who have been able to effectively access
What is this video about?
The experiences of people on the autism spectrum vary greatly; the access of disability resources being
one of the clearest and most prominent examples. Despite the applicability of provincial disability
services and programs to people with autism, many people on the spectrum find it difficult to access
these services, negatively affecting various parts of their life.
How was this video developed?
The producer(s) reached out to a number of self-advocates who have accessed or attempted to access
disability services and government programs in Manitoba and interviewed them with specific, detailed
questions about their experiences. Questions covered the positive and negative aspects of working
with various programs and agencies, the ease or difficulty obtaining government resources, and the
awareness of any additional resources that are available for people on the spectrum.
What were the findings?
There were a multitude of reasons given by self-advocates as to why they could either not obtain
disability services or struggled greatly to do so. Often-cited complaints included:
- Prioritization of youth over adults in regards to disability resources, centring around perceptions that adults in general, regardless of what needs they may have individually should “have it all together” and be able to figure out and navigate day-to-day obstacles.
- A lack of proper accommodation as a consequence of the condition of Aspergers Syndrome being swallowed into the broader classification of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5), the main point of clinical reference for psychiatrists when they make a diagnosis.
- Perceived discrimination on the part of the provincial government, due in part to conceptions of autism not being taken as seriously as other disorders and disabilities on account of it not being directly visible.
A general consensus on resolving these issues was to (A) de-stigmatize and correct misconceptions
about autism and people on the spectrum, (B) clarifying what autism is and (C) what exactly it entails
so that service providers will be more informed, efficient and effective in getting people with autism
How can you use these findings?
These findings demonstrate the challenges people on the autism spectrum face in trying to obtain
disability services and government resources, often on account of inaccurate perceptions of autism,
particularly as it pertains to adults. You can find out more about autism and related supports and
services at the following links:
Asperger Manitoba: A non-profit organization that supports individuals with Asperger Syndrome/
Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Manitoba: The ASDMB website describes supports and services that may be
appropriate for you and there is also a searchable database on the site that may be helpful.
The Information for Manitobans with Disabilities web portal provides links to a series of Fact Sheets
that describe supports and services available across the lifespan and across a wide range of disabilities.
Finding a clinician to help with diagnosis can be a challenge; try contacting your local Regional Health
Authority Adult Mental Health services as a first step. If you ever feel like you are in crisis, there are a
range of supports available on the Manitoba government’s website:
Hermes Rivera on Unsplash