We are working to inform the public of these drastic changes which will affect thousands of children in the province. Your donation will allow us to raise awareness throughout the province regarding the changes in the Ontario Autism Program by purchasing signs, advertising space, billboards and online media.
Our ultimate purpose is to have Direct Funding for Autism Behavioural Intervention now. Direct Funding saves the province a lot of money which can be put towards funding more children's therapies. No age cut-offs. There is no such thing as a closing window. It is NEVER too late to learn.
Secretary – Treasurer
This government is creating a lost generation of kids with ASD who waited on lists for years for service, and now because of the year they were born, will never receive access to this life-changing therapy.
MPP Monique Taylor
Have they given up all their possessions to uphold the dignity of their child, their child’s right to health care and education, basic human rights?
There can`t be an age restriction, this is a human rights violation.
Without this therapy he has been robbed of his potential and his future.
Families and friends of children with autism are furious after the provincial government’s announcement that Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy will now be cut off for children five and over. Parents of children with autism of all ages and their service providers have begun a campaign to force the government to reverse the decision.
Since coming to power 13 years ago, the government has utterly failed to reduce waitlists for the IBI program. They are trying to disguise their announcement as an attempt to do so, in a press release cruelly timed for release just days before World Autism Awareness Day. What they didn’t say is that they plan to do this by denying children over five access to therapy that is intense enough to work for them.
Minister Tracey MacCharles has misinterpreted the report of her hand-picked panel of experts. The government’s promise of “more clinically appropriate” 2-4 hours of weekly ABA service for children five and over is not supported by any research, including the work that her panel cited. It is widely accepted that this proposal is sub-therapeutic, and does not result in meaningful outcomes according to the literature review conducted by the government’s own Expert Panel Report.
As a consolation prize, the government promised to provide a one-time payout of $8,000 for families cut off from IBI, saying that they can use it to purchase “other approved services.” Families know that a full time ABA program costs between $50,000 and $75,000 a year. “This is nothing more than hush money,” says Shawna Thornberry of Grimsby, a parent of a 5-year-old boy who has autism. This money is barely enough to get a program up and running. After that, we have no way to maintain it.” Far from managing to hush parents, this week’s announcement has them howling.
Autism experts, service providers and other advocates have been quick to condemn the government’s new “strategy.” Dr. James Porter, an expert in ABA, IBI, and Autism, and Past President of the Ontario Association of Behaviour Analysts (ONTABA), says “with the proposed change in funding, this government has acted in a manner contrary to the values of Ontarians … the value that Ontarians place on caring, supporting and investing in the most vulnerable members of our community ... this government will be haunted by this shameful legacy.”
Other advocates expressed profound disappointment that the new “autism strategy” announcement contained no details whatsoever for either school or adult programs. “As the mother of a teenage boy with ASD and as a teacher myself, I know that programs in schools for our kids are hopelessly inconsistent. Despite the heroic efforts of teachers and EAs who work with our kids in the classroom every day, there is simply not enough
training and support. They’re being asked to teach our kids—who are challenging at times—while also
struggling with cutbacks and ever-increasing demands on their time. It’s not fair to anyone,” said Laura Kirby-McIntosh, Vice-President of the Ontario Autism Coalition. “And there wasn’t a single word in this announcement about adults with autism. I personally found that shocking.”
A letter writing campaign is already underway, and petition signatures are being collected across the province. The petition will be presented to the Legislature later this month by New Democrat MPP Monique Taylor, who will hold a press conference on the issue at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, April 12 at 9:15 a.m.
An online petition started by Ottawa mother Brenna Bloodworth has more than 8,000 signatures and is growing. Parents will meet later this week to plan their strategy to fight the government’s changes.