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Oppose the new Ontario Autism Program's elimination of IBI eligibility for Children over 5

This petition had 17,471 supporters

Hundreds of families across Ontario are currently facing the negative impact of the new Ontario Autism Program.

Under this new program, aiming to reduce wait times for diagnoses and intervention from the current 2-4 years to eventually 6 months, providing earlier intervention to those in need, children with autism 5 & older will no longer be eligible for government funded IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention) programs, a service that is reserved for children on the severe end of the autism spectrum.

These changes are being made based on "expert suggestions" that optimum learning occurs between the ages of 2-4, and older children are not likely to benefit from the program. Meaning hundreds of children with a multitude of moderate to severe challenges are now or soon to be considered "too old" for the services we have long awaited.

While research may suggest a peak learning period in infants and young children, there is no firm evidence to justify the claim of older children being unable to benefit from IBI. In 2002, a study done by Svein Eikeseth, Tristram Smith, Erik Jahr, & Sigmund Eldevik, provided great evidence that children who began IBI therapy between the ages of 4-7 were able to make tremendous gains.

IBI therapy costs roughly $50,000/year per child. For the many children who are now being taken off the wait lists or phased out of programs, the service will be replaced by a one-time funding of $8,000 per child, equivalent to roughly two months of IBI therapy, to obtain services while transitioning to school and public supports - services that do not relate or compare to IBI.

According to the UN Charter of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, "persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability.", it also states that people have a right to the services specifically required for the management of their disability. These clauses are inclusive of all people, not just the ones the government sees fit.

Considering IBI is essentially the only medically necessary treatment for autism, this is more than a slap in the face to the many parents who have waited many years, with children once within the new age limit, to obtain this crucial service.

Please help to be a voice for our children, a voice for our future. Sign this petition directed to the Ontario NDP & Conservatives Opposition critics, Monique Taylor and Sylvia Jones, with the ultimate hope this matter will reach the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Thank you

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