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(Canada) Ontario parents fear govt 'out of touch'; autistic children "desperately" need services

Feb 7, 2019, Newswire: Government "reforms" will leave families affected by autism on their own and struggling for support - CUPE joined by Ontario Autism Coalition in condemning decision that divides children with autism into "haves" and "have nots" The Ford government's reckless changes to the way it supports children with autism put desperately needed services at risk and make it clear to their families that they're on their own, say representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and CUPE Ontario. They are joined in this assessment by the Ontario Autism Coalition, which has shared its concerns with the union…. Walton described wait lists and lack of supports for children with autism as "a scandal", but warned, "This move does nothing to train more educational assistants in ABA therapy. It doesn't promote inclusion in classrooms for children with autism. It doesn't provide more educational assistants, it doesn't increase services in rural and northern areas, and we're back to funding support based on age…. CUPE has called for a system of regional, publicly run centres to assess children with autism; needs-based funding for services for children with exceptionalities; and a high-quality, inclusive and supportive public education for all children…. This vision was championed in part by the Ontario Autism Coalition, which voiced its fears about the new limitations that Ford government is putting on services to children with autism…. Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario and himself a social worker who worked in developmental services, affirmed Smithers' view: "The Ford government has shown itself again and again to be completely out of touch with what happens on the ground, whether it's with children with autism, their families or workers. It is simply unwilling to commit to proper funding for education and what it takes to achieve better outcomes for students, for children with autism and for their families. …


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