TORONTO – “Cuts and delays to the Ontario Autism Program by Doug Ford’s Conservatives have been disastrous for many families across Ontario, who have children stuck on long and growing waitlists. Ontario Liberals will work with families to finally get this fixed, ” said Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.
Ontario Liberals will:
Implement a needs-based Ontario Autism Program for every child, including Applied Behavioural Analysis, occupational therapy, mental health and speech and language pathology
Hire 5,000 more special education workers and reduce wait times for school services for students with autism
Implement a direct billing option for autism therapy
Conduct a comprehensive reform of special education and better transition people into adult services
“The mistakes of the past will not be repeated. To make sure, we’ll establish an independent review of autism services to document and learn from past failures, funded from outside the Ontario Autism Program budget,” continued Del Duca.
“We’ll work as quickly as possible with people with autism, families and clinicians to implement a needs-based program for every child. To ensure that families don’t have to pay out of pocket for autism services, we’ll implement a direct billing option for therapy and make Special Services at Home funding more flexible. We’ll also create new autism therapy capacity across the province and regulate the sector to ensure quality.”
“Our plan will also hire an additional special education worker for every school – more than 5,000 more professionals – to reduce wait times for services and help close learning gaps.”
“We’ll also undertake a comprehensive reform of special education and the needs of students with disabilities – including the Individual Education Plan and autism services in schools – and fix the cliff that occurs when a child with a disability ages into adult services by better aligning both systems.”