INPUT FROM PARENTS AND EXPERTS WILL HELP DETERMINE HOW BEST TO PROVIDE CHILDREN WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS-BASED SUPPORTS
BROCKVILLE – Ontario’s government is putting families first by engaging with parents of children with autism on further enhancements to the Ontario Autism Program, said Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark.
“In March, we announced enhancements to our Autism plan by adding a needs-based component. These enhancements have seen funding for the program double to more than $600 million,” said Clark. “I am looking forward to hearing from families in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes about how we can best support children with diverse needs on the autism spectrum.”
Starting in May, the government will engage in public consultations through an online survey and telephone town halls. These consultations will run for one month and help inform how our government can better support children and youth with autism who have complex needs, including through additional direct funding.
“We want to look more broadly at how we can provide support and reduce barriers for children with autism,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “That is why I am working in partnership with the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. We are leveraging a whole of government, wrap-around approach to supporting children with an autism diagnosis.”
The government is also establishing a new advisory panel comprised of parent and autism advocates with lived experience navigating the Ontario Autism Program. It will include experts from a range of disciplines including psychology, behavioural analysis and rehabilitation services as well as education, developmental pediatrics and research.
The panel will review the results of the survey and telephone town halls. It will put forward its advice later this summer on a new needs assessment process as well as an approach to provide support through Childhood Budgets, one that is responsive to children’s abilities and needs to improve their long-term outcomes.