March 6th, 2019

Ford Conservatives punishing local families with cuts to autism services: NDP

QUEEN’S PARK - Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Sudbury NDP MPP Jamie West said that Doug Ford’s cuts to autism is hurting families in Sudbury who are working overtime to help their children receive the autism therapy they need.

In his member’s statement, West shared the story of one local family whose challenges will get worse because of Ford’s cuts to autism services.

“I want to share a story about a family in my community: Julia, Sean, June and Chaz.

June was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay when she was two-and-a-half years old. Her psychologist recommended that she receive a minimum of 20 hours of IBI therapy a week. June’s treatment in full would cost approximately $55,000 a year.

While on the waitlist, June began therapy privately. Julia and Sean worked ten to 20 hours above their full-time hours every week to cover the cost of therapy, but they were still only able to afford 10 hours a week.

The family is under significant financial and emotional stress.

With the government’s introduction of income testing, their efforts to provide for June will put them at a higher household income bracket. This means they will receive less financial support.

They still will not be able to provide June the 20 hours a week she needs to reach her full potential. Julia and Sean would rather wait. They would rather wait for an equitable, needs-based funding model. One that ensures children receive the support they need, instead of punishing families.

I have a responsibility to bring stories like June’s to the legislature. Her family and many others across this province need this government to listen to their concerns. I will continue to stand with families, and fight for a solution that will ensure children like June receive the therapy they need.”