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***(Canada)Ontario children with autism left on waiting lists for years; schools 'just not prepared'

Jan 31, 2019, CBC: Parents vent frustration about Ontario Autism Program waitlist at Windsor roundtable Parents with children who have autism had a chance to express their frustrations to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services at a roundtable Thursday about long waits for services. Minister Lisa MacLeod sent her parliamentary assistant, Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South-Hespeler, to Windsor to hear from parents. … Ball Rigden pointed to the Ontario Autism Program, which she says is only now accepting kids who were referred back in December of 2016. However, she said, the wait list hasn't moved for three months. So even if a child had a referral date of July 2017, it could be a much longer wait than just seven months. April Paré is in the same boat, whose daughter Adyson Paré has been waiting for two and a half years. … Paré said Adyson isn't learning in school because she struggles with some behaviour issues. Her frustration lies beyond the program's long wait list, saying schools should have these services incorporated for kids who need them. "I feel like our school system just isn't prepared enough and well-equipped to handle the behaviours that come from these kids sometimes," said Paré. According to her, there are 40,000 children with autism in the province, but only 8,000 are receiving services through the program. … Fee said the next steps will be to bring concerns from this roundtable, and others across the province, back to Minister MacLeod to inform the next steps for the program. However, Ball Rigden and Paré aren't optimistic that any positive change will take place soon. "Given the past history of the government and what they've tried to do to the autism programs in the past, I don't give very much hope to it," said Paré.
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