This is Adam. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 19months. Before ABA therapy Adam was unable to vocalize. He didnt respond to his name. He didnt even point. He played to himself and rarely acknowledged those around him. In his frustration with not being able to communicate his needs and wants to the world, he often would have meltdowns and would flop and cry on the floor. As a mother, it was heartbreaking to see my child struggle because I couldn't figure out what he wanted.
But there was a light at the end of the tunnel. At the age of 2, Adam began ABA therapy and began to make some gains. 2 years ago, he had the opportunity to receive the intensive ABA therapy that was based on his individual needs. Adam has made some drastic gains! Adam is now able to express his thoughts in 3 + word sentences. He plays with his brothers and has even made his first best friend at the centre he attends. BUT, he still needs to work on acquiring more functional skills before he is ready for school. Although Adam is considered verbal, he is non conversational. So when most parents ask their neurotypical children how their day was at school and have a conversation about it, Adam is not able to do that, but I have no doubt (that with ABA therapy), he will get there. What this govt proposed with the autism funding changes is detrimental to Adam's future. Adam will regress, and he will not have the opportunity to acquire the skills he needs to function in school, self -advocate and become a self-sufficient adult. Adam's older brothers Alexander (age 9) and Michael (age 8) even expressed their concerns to an MPP saying "what's going to happen when my parents pass away? If you take away Adam's therapy, I'll have to take care of my little brother." Now, let that sink in for just a moment, and imagine the stress my 9 & 8 year olds have on their shoulders. Now multiply that by 1000 and you'll determine the parent stress level. There are feasible options to balance the budget. Talk to me, and I'll present them to you. But NEVER, not EVER should the budget be balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable children. This is not the Ontario I love. I beg of you, my family begs of you, help our children and #Pausetheplan.