Aug 7, 2020, Toronto Sun: Ontario government’s autism program not enough, families and critics say https://torontosun.com/news/provincial/ontario-governments-autism-program-not-enough-families-and-critics-say The Ontario government began rolling out the first phase of its new program for families with autistic children on Friday, but critics and parents remain skeptical of the plan. The province made the announcement in a news release earlier in the week, saying the new program will begin providing “foundational family services” to support the learning and development of children with autism. The government said those services — which include mentoring, caregiver workshops and coaching tailored to unique regional and cultural needs — form one pillar of the province’s new, needs-based autism program….
“Once fully implemented, all families registered for the program will be able to access support and services through one or more of our four pillars, no matter where they live in Ontario,” Trell Huether said.
Last year, in a bid to eliminate wait lists, Premier Doug Ford’s government changed the way it pays for autism treatment. However, the measures reduced the average amount paid to families, and following public backlash, the government announced it would create a needs-based program. NDP critic Monique Taylor said the Ford government promised families a fully implemented program by April 2020 and failed to deliver.
“We’re in August … in the midst of a pandemic and families are receiving no service,” Taylor said in an interview this week….
“I have no faith in this government and their actions to date,” said Tennelle Wong, mother to a 7-year-old boy living with autism.
“If they were not able to do it under normal circumstances, how are they able to do anything now during a pandemic?”
The Ajax resident and mother or two said she sold her first home back in 2016 in a bid to support her son Justin, but is still $90,000 in debt. She said her family can no longer rely on the government….
A recent report from the province’s fiscal watchdog said the waitlist for autism services in the province grew to 27,600 children last year….
Cheryl Clark said her seven-year-old son Drew was on the waitlist for four years awaiting funding. …