Our five year old daughter, Isabelle, was diagnosed with ASD last May. This followed years of working on her speech delay through private therapists and being bounced around to doctors. Isabelle is beautiful, lively and has a future full of possibilities. However, she will need support to achieve that future. She has come so far with help but still navigates her world with a speech delay and struggles to interact positively with her peers and baby sister. Ar school, she is learning her letters and numbers but still works on basic printing and tracing. Her transition into school was facilitated largely by one-on-one support from an amazing ECE. Given the uncertain path ahead, we are deeply concerned by the cuts to both the Ontario Autism Program and the public school system. We are currently on the OAP waitlist for service.
Isabelle, and all the children with ASD in Ontario, deserve much better than the plan proposed by the PC government. The MInister of Children, Community and Social Services has said that Ontario parents feel abandoned by the current OAP. I do not disagree but would assert we will feel no less abandoned under the OAP she has put forth. Clearing the waitlist by cutting cheques for limited amounts is not putting children and families first. It also represents an irresponsible use of taxpayer money as the proposal is akin to going into an emergency room and giving every person there a set amount for their treatment based not on the issue at hand but on their age and income. So one guy with a headache, for example, will get way more than needed while someone with a chest wound will get a woefully inadequate amount. Vulnerable children deserve a much more thoughtful system and so do taxpayers.