Ontario government making changes to controversial autism program
TORONTO -- Ontario is tweaking its controversial autism program, eliminating income testing and exploring supports based on need.
Parents of children with autism have been protesting the plan announced last month by Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, saying it would leave kids without access to the levels of therapy they need.
MacLeod has previously announced that in order to clear a waiting list of 23,000 children, kids with autism would receive direct funding to pay for treatment, with caps of up to $20,000 per year for treatment for children under six and $5,000 a year for children six to 18.
Those maximums were based on family income, and MacLeod says today that all kids under six diagnosed as on the spectrum will receive $20,000 and kids over six will receive $5,000.
MacLeod also says the government is now looking at how best to provide additional supports to families based on the diagnosed need of the child.
Intensive therapy can cost up to $80,000 a year and many parents with kids already in government-funded therapy say they will be unable to cover the difference to keep their kids in full-time therapy.