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LETTER: Funding change condemns autistic children to life of isolation, dependency

Grandparent of autistic child says changes are 'unconscionable and short-sighted'
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Autism news conference
Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod speaking at a news conference related to changes in autism funding in Toronto on Feb. 6, 2019.

 OrilliaMatters received the following letter from Daniel Williams, whose granddaughter is autistic. He and many others have grave concerns about the For government's changes to autism funding.
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I have a lovely young granddaughter who has an autism diagnosis. 

For two years, she was on the waiting list for Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy.  Last year she gained access to the program.

Prior to receiving IBI therapy, my granddaughter lived in her own world – she was neither communicative nor aware of any behavioural limits. 

Thanks to the IBI therapy, she is beginning to communicate, is aware of her surroundings and is engaging appropriately with others.  IBI therapy is a life changing program for an autistic child.

 The change to the IBI funding that the Ford government is proposing is short-sighted and unconscionable. 

The funding cap for this therapy will make intensive therapy impossible, providing only a fraction of the money required – supporting only eight hours of therapy a month as opposed to the current requirement of twenty-eight hours per week. 

Instead of ensuring funding for autistic children based on their need, they are throwing a tiny amount of money at everyone, offering families of autistic children only a glimmer of hope. 

One parent said it best – it is like telling all cancer patients that instead of the 20 treatments they need, the government will provide one treatment to everyone – which won’t do anything to save a single person.

The change to autism funding by the Ford government is condemning my beautiful grandchild and other autistic children to a life of isolation and dependency.  It is true that other children on the wait list need this therapy as well. 

What is unconscionable is Minister Lisa MacLeod’s attempt to make that effort a panacea for depriving all autistic children of a reasonable funding model that will meet their actual needs. 

Equal is not the same as equity.

Daniel Williams
Orillia

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