This is Mellow. He is 9 years old. He has severe autism. Mellow is non vocal. This lucky boy had access to service through the OAP at the age of four until the age of six and made tremendous improvements. Due to the funding structure at the time Mellow was discharged into the school system without making as much progress as he could have. Once Mellow was discharged into the school system he lost many of the skills he had gained through lack of support and maintenance. Mellow remains in a community classroom with a hardworking teacher and EA. He makes very few academic gains in this classroom and his problem behaviours have increased exponentially since his discharge from behaviour therapy. Mellow was on the waitlist from the age of 6 until this summer at the age of nine when he was receiving focused service to deal with his severe self injury and aggression. This therapy only focuses on reducing these challenging behaviours and is provided at no cost under the OAP. He receives a total of five hours a week in school through the interdisciplinary team at Surrey Place. This team has mad ut easier for Mellow to be in school and had helped everyone in his life with meaningful consultations and suggestions. This service was bringing us hope that Mellow could soon be safe at school and in the community. The amount the new OAP is offering will leave Mellow without any help for his significant challenges. 5000$s can't buy the service a child with truly challenging behaviour needs. It is simply impossible. We will be receiving funds that we won't be able to spend on the services he needs which is the same as offering no service at all. Our family and extended family is left feeling betrayed, heartbroken and sick with worrie over the future of this vulnerable boy with high needs. He has the potential to live a full and happy life but that potential will be taken away if this new OAP is the reality for his future.
Please think of the children with complex behavioural issues who need support within the OAP. These children will be left with no help to decrease behaviours that keep them from their community and schools in some cases.