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In news that will come as no surprise to parents of children with autism, the auditor general’s report shows that families in Ontario wait an unacceptably long time — as in, years — for diagnosis and therapy that could substantially improve outcomes.

There are many problems with the provision of autism services to families in Ontario, as outlined here and also summarized in a front page article in today’s Toronto Star. There are many more children (1748) with autism waiting for services than are currently receiving them.

According to reporter Andrea Gordon, the Auditor General’s findings re: autism services substantiates what many in the field have been saying, and parents of kids with autism have long known. Quality of service varies widely depending upon the part of the province you live in, and kids can wait four years or more for intensive behaviour intervention (IBI) therapies funded by the province. It’s no secret that provision of these services has been inadequate for 20 years or more: this is a shameful and unacceptable situation.

As observed by Bunch Family writer Nancy Walton, the autism therapies that the province provides are inadequate, and many parents pay for additional therapies themselves. But the inadequate access leaves families without the money to do so at an enormous disadvantage. The repercussions of not having therapy in the early years last a lifetime.

The best time to receive IBI therapies is age four — but most children in this province don’t receive them until after age 7. A quarter of the children whose parents apply for services are rejected because the autism doesn’t qualify as ‘severe’ — even though these children would benefit hugely.

This report is the first time autism services have been studied by the Auditor General. Read Andrea Gordon’s in-depth article here — and the Toronto Star’s excellent Autism Project from last fall.

source: Toronto Star





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