Extend Children's Autism Funding Access in Response to Covid19

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Dione Costanzo
Dione Costanzo signed this petition

We are the parents of young children with Autism.

As a result of Covid19, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia are not only losing months of therapy since services are currently suspended, but also vital funding that children with Autism will need when the crisis is over to resume therapy.

At this point, the Government of British Columbia has not extended the yearly terms of funding, that end on each child's birthday month.  All unused funds are not carried over into the next year and are lost to the child.  For some children, this will mean losing the last of their intensive early intervention funding of $22,000 a year for the Under 6 program.  The Over 6 program drops drastically to $6000 a year, leaving many families to have to struggle to get their children the help they need or try to supplement the therapy themselves. For other families, this will mean losing crucially important therapists who they can no longer afford to pay due to loss of their own  income during the crisis.

Because Autism Spectrum Disorder manifests in developmental impairments in communication, social interaction, emotional regulation, fine and gross motor skills, and different types of learning, in-person, one on one therapy with qualified therapists is crucial to the development of these children. Virtual, or online therapeutic support is not sufficient to help children with ASD develop the vital skills they need to become functioning members of society.

The worldwide pandemic is not only causing  major challenges to these families, and every family, but the government not extending Autism funding terms risks our children's future development. 

We are asking that the Government of British Columbia step up to help families of children with Autism keep their children's therapy teams and honour the funding that these children were promised for the current funding year, so that they can use this funding after the crisis is over. 

We are asking that Premier Horgan and the Government of British Columbia roll over any unused funding leftover in a child with autism's AFU account into their next funding year so it can be used for as many months of therapy as they lost during the global pandemic.