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Ontario's Autism Waiting Lists and the Need for a National Autism Strategy

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:34pm

In Autistic Children "Rotting On The Vine" In Ontario - Why Not Consider "the New Brunswick Autism Model" - I commented on Ontario's lengthy waiting lists for autistic children seeking autism treatment. In Breaking the silence Niagara this week tells the story of Riley Methot a 3 1/2year old with severe autism who is 14th on a waiting list to receive funding for intensive behavioral intervention training. Riley's parents are paying out of pocket for his treatment and he is fortunate that they can but it is creating debt for their family. The article also features Andrew Thomas whose family moved from Ontario to Alberta in 2006 when that province lifted its age restrictions on funded ABA treatment. Andrew could barely talk when he left Ontario now, at age 11, he has gone from severe autism to functioning autism.

The Harper government hides behind constitutional jurisdiction when pressed to provide financing so that autistic children and adults can receive decent treatment and care regardless of where they live in Canada. Mr Harper, Health Minister Clement and Conservative Autism Dad Mike Lake ignore the existence of a national medicare scheme and Canada's history of cooperative federalism in refusing to help autistic people across Canada who don't enjoy the good fortune of living in a province sitting on top of a large oil supply. When families have to move to Alberta to seek treatment, or when members of national organizations who have autistic children refuse postings because of lack of funding for autism in their home province the need for a National Autism Strategy, a real National Autism Strategy, is plain and obvious.

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