Autism’s numbers game: Prevalence rates under microscope in fight for resources, support services

Top autism specialists are questioning the 1 in 68 autism prevalence rate used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and repeated by organizations all over North America. My story from July 25, 2014

National Post

At 17, Emily Buczek is a beloved daughter and a worry for her parents.

The young Etobicoke, Ont., woman likes watching Disney movies online and wearing nail polish. She also has severe autism, is developmentally delayed and is mostly non-verbal. Her mother Christina has fought tooth and nail over the years to ensure Emily gets the services she needs to realize her potential.

Ms. Buczek and her husband plan to have their daughter live at home with them as long as possible. But they wonder what will happen to her as they grow older. Although there is greater focus on programs and services for children with autism — though not enough to meet actual needs, critics say — Ms. Buczek sees dwindling resources for her daughter once she turns 18 and starts becoming ineligible for the help she’s received so far.

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Prevalence rates — numbers showing how many non-autistic people…

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TDSB told cost to install solar panels higher than expected, leaving roof replacements in doubt

My story July 24, 2014. And so goes the saga of solar panels for new roofs at the TDSB.

National Post

A plan by Toronto’s public school board to replace school roofs through the production of green energy is facing new setbacks.

A confidential note to the Toronto District School Board’s 22 trustees on Wednesday advised costs for the solar panel project — supposed to help fund the replacement of more than 4 million square feet of school roofs — are higher than first pegged. That’s because of greater than expected costs to the board’s private partner — School Top Solar LP — for roofing, installing the panels and fees to Toronto Hydro for hooking up to its power grid.

The board could end up with fewer free roof replacements as a result, the note said, marking yet another step backward from the expectation three years ago that most of the TDSB’s school roofs would be repaired through the project.

Part of the potential cost overrun is the result of school…

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Former TDSB chair denies taking overs as CEO at private school in Vietnam

My story from June 26, 2014.

National Post

The former chair of the Toronto District School Board is fighting back at reports he has taken a job as the CEO of a private school in Vietnam that is also doing business with the TDSB.

“I am not the CEO of the Vietnam school. Full stop,” Chris Bolton wrote in an email to the National Post Wednesday. It is the first time Mr. Bolton has addressed the Post’s questions about his role with Canadian International School System in Ho Chi Minh City since reports surfaced last week that he had taken a job there.

Mr. Bolton also wrote he did not have a contract with the school, or knew “any of the details of any contract the TDSB has with the school.” He said he would “have more to say” when he returned from a trip to Central America “in another week or so.” He did not reply…

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Toronto District School Board providing consulting services to private school in Ho Chi Minh City

The Toronto District School Board has started providing consulting services to a Vietnamese private school that has also been searching for a new CEO.

National Post

The Toronto District School Board has started providing consulting services to a Vietnamese private school that has also been searching for a new CEO.

Canadian International School Systems in Ho Chi Minh City would not answer questions Friday as to whether that new CEO, or “head of school,” is Chris Bolton, who suddenly resigned as chair of the Toronto District School Board on June 13.

An assistant to the Vietnamese school’s current head, Mark Fenwick, said it was the school’s policy not to name its new head without that person’s permission. Mr. Fenwick, a former superintendent with the Toronto Catholic board, referred emailed questions about whether Mr. Bolton would be taking over, and the school’s arrangement with the TDSB, to the school’s public relations department.


Aaron Lynett / National Post Aaron Lynett / National Post

Mr. Bolton, a former Toronto school principal, cited “personal reasons,” for his resignation when it was first announced. He…

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