Age: 8
Provincial Riding: Hamilton Mountain
My son was diagnosed before his second birthday, after fighting with my family Dr for a referral from about 10 months old. As someone who worked with autistic children before his birth his stimming and sensory issues were very obvious from a young age. Even with his early diagnosis we waited over 3 years to get intense therapy. We are one of the lucky families who were able to access I.B.I for 2 and a half years , starting to transition in to full time school last spring. As we transitioned his behaviours escalated and staff at school needed to wear Kevlar guards. Thanks to the Liberals OAP we were able to still access some hours of therapy instead of being totally cut off and Ethan has been thriving in a new class this year. His class has 3 staff and 6 students and they are able to take weekly trips that focus on the skills he will need to be an active member of his community. He is also beginning to use his voice to request things and gaining many self regulating skills. All of this would not have been possible without his intense therapy.
While we have benefited from this program and were feeling ready to end A.B.A I recently recieved a breast cancer diagnosis that has caused some big changes to family life. This is something that is difficult for any family but there is a whole other set of challenges when your child is still learning self care skills and how to express and understand things happening around them. In the old program we would have been able to access more therapy to help our family through this time. We would have been able to work on skills like hand washing which turns in to a very important skill when someone in the home is immune compromised. With Ford's new plan we are being left with nothing to help us get through this trying time. With the recent changes to education funding we also now worry that his class ratio will change to fit more kids and he will lose the oppurtunities and skills the small class has given him. In a time when we need the most support, and hubby is missing many hours from work ,we are being left to try and figure out how to pay for needed therapy while keeping a roof over our heads, raising special needs kids, and fighting cancer.
We are asking our community and neighbour's for help out of need, not greed. I hope my community will stand and be For The People because it's more clear each day our government is not.

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