April 2nd, 2019

NDP statements on World Autism Awareness Day

QUEEN’S PARK — Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Children and Youth Services critic Monique Taylor each issued statements today, April 2, to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

Statement from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath:

“Today marks World Autism Awareness Day, and the beginning of World Autism Month. One in 66 Canadian children and youth are diagnosed with autism, and about 135,000 Ontarians are on the autism spectrum. Today, and throughout the month of April, we recognize the struggles and the successes faced by people living with autism, and their families. And today, the NDP is strengthening our resolve to fight for the consistent, evidence-based and government-funded therapies that people living with autism need in order to thrive and to fulfill their potential.

As Ontarians, let’s commit to a more complete and compassionate understanding of autism, a neurological difference that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people and their surroundings. Let’s support ongoing research into autism supports. Let’s remember that each individual living with autism has distinct strengths, experiences different challenges, and requires unique supports.

As the Official Opposition, we believe we can’t rest until evidence-based supports are available to all Ontario families, regardless of income, age or where they live. We believe no family should have to go bankrupt paying for supports for their child. We believe no parent should have to sell their home to afford care or therapies.

On World Autism Awareness Day and World Autism Month, we’re standing with children and adults living with autism and their loved ones to spread the message that people living with autism deserve to be respected, included, and given the same opportunities as others to learn, work and thrive.”

Statement from NDP MPP Monique Taylor, critic for Children and Youth Services:

“Today, we mark World Autism Awareness Day, and the start of World Autism Month. Currently, one in 66 children is diagnosed with autism. In Ontario, about 135,000 people are on the autism spectrum. People living with autism have always been a part of Canada and Ontario’s history, and they are an important part of our future. Throughout this month, we recognize the contributions of people on the autism spectrum to our families and communities. We recognize, too, that the government has an obligation to support people with autism, from diagnosis into adulthood, and to ensure they have access to the services they need.

Under this provincial government, we have seen an erosion of support for children, and an autism program that has been devastating for families. The new autism plan has caused enormous anxiety and confusion for parents, and layoffs to service providers across the province, with northern and rural areas hit especially hard.

As Child and Youth Services critic, I will continue to fight to ensure every child on the autism spectrum in Ontario is given the same opportunities to thrive as any other child. I will push for each child to receive the supports he or she needs to develop and live a healthy life. Children with autism need access to comprehensive, evidence and needs-based services. Families need access to a wide range of services tailored to meet their child’s individual needs. That includes mental health supports, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

Autism doesn’t end at 18, and the government must consult with adults on the spectrum, to ensure they have access to the appropriate educational, training and therapeutic supports. Policies cannot be designed without their input. This month, let’s redouble our efforts to ensure the voices of people with autism are heard. Let’s do the work to make sure our communities and institutions are accessible, inclusive and accepting of those who are not neuro-typical. People on the spectrum, their families and the hardworking service providers who support them all deserve so much better.”