About the Campaign
ABA Access4All began as a parent crowd-funding initiative in late 2013, with 200 parents chipping in £10 each towards a legal opinion on whether the UK's failure to provide their autistic children with ABA, an evidence-based therapy, might be judicially reviewable. Initial counsel opinion came back that there was indeed a case to be made. Judicial Review proceedings are ongoing via a legal team from Arden Chambers and Bindman's, with the first JR now settled and ABA inserted into the Local Offer of Wolverhampton LA.
In the meantime, the campaign continues to lobby and inform on the gains achievable for autistic children via ABA, to try and 'bust' some of the myths and misinformation that are out there about ABA, and to discuss the sometimes ineffective education offered in many autism special schools. We have gained much coverage in the UK press and on BBC TV and radio. Parent founder Jane McCready has also served as the UK-SBA consumer board member for several years, also chairing its consumer Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in the UK-SBA's recent application to the Professional Standards Authority for accreditation of its register of professionals. If approved, such accreditation would mark a major step-change for ABA in the UK.
There are now around as many children educated in ABA schools as there are in schools run by the largest UK autism charity and education chain, the National Autistic Society (NAS). More ABA schools than NAS schools are rated Outstanding by Ofsted. Parents are increasingly winning ABA at tribunal, or using Personal Budgets on it. And several forward-thinking Local Authorities (LAs) are bringing ABA 'in-house' and employing BCBAs direct.
However there's still a way to go. In particular, early intervention via ABA remains unavailable to all but the wealthy: a big target for the campaign to tackle, given what research tells us about the importance of such early intervention. ABA training for one-to-one shadows in mainstream school is also a target, plus greater use of ABA professionals in special schools, which are often coasting - more child-minding than educating.
The frontispiece of the campaign remains a busy and well-informed Facebook page, which now has some 7,000 followers from as far afield as Pakistan and Port Talbot. This new website* will hopefully reach a new, non-Facebook, audience too.
*With thanks to Khalida Rizi and Sarah Kaikini for helping this old, non-techy to manage Facebook, Twitter and website!
Jane McCready is a mum and step-mum to four, including a son called Johnny (pictured here with Jane) with autism, a severe learning disability and Type 1 Diabetes, and a step-daughter with very high-functioning autism. She started the ABA Access4All (ABAA4ALL) campaign in early 2014 to use PR, lobbying and the law to get ABA funded by the State for those who choose but can't afford it.
The campaign has featured in the national press/TV and on BBC radio, and has worked with leading barristers and solicitors at the prestigious London firms Arden Chambers and Bindman's on judical reviews.
Prior to motherhood, Jane held senior marketing/PR positions in the City and was most latterly Director of Marketing and Communications for all Merrill Lynch's international operations, excluding the US. She has a Masters in Classics from Cambridge University and is also a qualified secondary school teacher. Jane lives with her husband and children just outside London.
She is motivated by the belief that it is not right that her son got the best-evidenced therapy, whereas other children might not - simply due to money/a postcode lottery. Jane is a big supporter of Focus Autism UK, whose clubs are "democratising" access to ABA at more affordable levels. She has also served as the consumer board member on the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis. The ABAA4All campaign is run on an entirely voluntary basis.