With Todd Smith’s announcement today, Ontario’s autism community has learned that once again, children will be stuck waiting for needs-based therapy. Despite a committment last year that a needs-based program would be ready and accessible by April 2020, the government continues to stall and delay. As children continue to languish on an ever-increasing waitlist, access to meaningful therapeutic support remains out of reach for families across the province. Today’s lacklustre announcement serves as nothing more than a reminder that our community will continue to wait for the Ford government to fix the autism program that they themselves broke.
Kerry Monaghan, a board member with the Ontario Autism Coalition, says: “Although the reinstatement of foundational services that were removed last year will undoubtedly help families, the support will be limited and will act only as yet another layover as we wait for what our kids really need: behaviour, speech, and occupational therapy. We continue to urge the government to implement the full program that was promised to help all children in need of support versus only a select few.”
It would seem this government has wasted a year of opportunities to plan and launch a needs-based program. Families are tired of waiting to access the support their children desperately need. It is long past time for this government to make the autism file a priority, and to demonstrate a real commitment to ensuring that children with autism can access support that meets their needs.
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