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(Canada) Ontario: 60K autistic children wait for services; government refuses to address crisis

Aug 3, 2023, CP24: Ontario autism coalition responds to wait list report

VIDEO: The Ontario Autism Coalition is insisting families impacted by autism in this province are facing a crisis when it comes to a lack of care and resources.

This follows a report last week while 20,000 families are receiving support, there are 60,000 in need and that number is growing.

Tony Stravato, Vice President of Operations at the Autism Ontario Coalition: Everything we’ve been saying for the past four years, how bad it is was confirmed in those briefing notes to the minister.

There are thousands of families that are in crisis right now, and there’s a lot this government can do. We’ve been trying desperately for the last several years to have a working relationship with this government to get this program right. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked out we wanted it to.

This program is underserving. It’s not a needs based program like they intended it to be. We had a needs based program. It was completely dismantled. At that time there was 23,000 kids on the waitlist.

Now we’re pushing up close to 60,000 kids. …

When these therapies are prescribed, they could be up to 90, $100,000 [60, $75,000] a year. The maximum you can get at a certain age level, and age levels cut off at 10 for the $65,000 [$49,000], and then as you turn 10, it drops down to $41,000 [$31,000]. This program is based on age, not need.

Autism never ends and the challenges come and go as the years go. Your needs couldn’t change, so at the age of 12, you could need more than when we’re four years old.

That’s why we were advocating for a needs based program. What we have now is a program that is based on age. It’s decided by a checklist…

We are in crisis. We are potentially setting back generations of children by not providing the proper supports….

There’s kids who’ve been waiting since 2018.

Anyone who’s diagnosed now, when is that going to come. There’s generations of children that will not get the therapies that they were prescribed, and it’s only going to affect the future.

We don’t know how to get caught up unless the government is willing to come back to the table. …


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