PC Autism Cuts Will Leave Deep Scars

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Early in the month of February, the Progressive Conservative Government brought in immense changes to the Ontario Autism Program. With hopes to eliminate the waitlist for treatment of over 23,000 children, Lisa Macleod adopted an approach based on direct funding.

The approach, however, came with many disheartening highlights including;

  • TOTAL funding of $140,000 per child as young as 2 years old and is to be used until the age of 18.
  • Families will receive up to $20,000 a year until their child turns six and at the 6-year mark, the funding drops to ONLY $5,000 per year until the age of 18

This process is difficult for many families who have raised their children with autism. Many children need intensive care which can cost up to $80,000 for treatment, such as ABA therapy. This is MORE THAN HALF of the $140,000 that they are given for their children until the age of 18 years old. The funding given by the government will only cover 2 years worth of therapy and it is evident that some children may need much more than that.

At the government's attempts to reach equality they are forgetting about EQUITY. Why does a child’s funding decrease after the age of six? Does this mean their needs are less important than those children who are younger? All children with autism have different severities and this should not be overlooked or based on their AGE. The reality of the waitlist is that children must wait long periods of time to get the treatment they deserve however, in the end, the treatment is fully funded. The wait for this list can be improved in more positive ways rather than cutting autism funds and overlooking the severity of children’s needs.

For children with autism under the age of 5, they will receive $5,000 a year with a clawback of almost $2,000. With intensive care being almost $80,000 per treatment, $3,000 will not be enough to support a child. My heart goes out to the families fighting for their rights, please sign this petition to show the children that we care about them, and are fighting with them. The government MUST do better.