The province is doubling funding to some autism programming in an effort to clear waitlist backlog.
Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services Lisa MacLeod made the announcement today, that an overhaul of the Ontario Autism Program by the Ford Government hopes to tackle the lengthy waiting list for autism therapy within the next two years.
“Today, almost 3 out of every 4 children who require autism supports continue to be stranded on waitlists due to the cynicism and incompetence of the previous government,” said MacLeod. “The parents of these children have told me they are feeling abandoned. We cannot, in good conscience, continue treating these parents and children like lower-class citizens, so we are introducing reforms to provide them with the fairness and equality they deserve.”
Some 23,000 kids diagnosed with autism are on that waiting list, fewer than 9,000 are currently in the program. MacLeod says the province is doubling the funding to the five diagnostic hubs that that assess children before they get into the program. The average wait time for that assessment alone is 31 weeks.
The overhaul also includes establishing an independent agency to not only bring families into the program, but help them navigate it.