When Ontario’s Conservative government introduced changes to funding treatment for autistic children, it was touted as a big improvement over what the previous Liberal regime had in place. You would be hard pressed to find any parents to agree that it is better.
Tyler Stone’s three- year-old and two-year-old children are both diagnosed as severely autistic. They’re both on a waiting list for life skills and social training, along with other services.
The new plan will pay Stone and his wife up to $20,000.00 a year per child. That leaves them to raise another $60,000 per child. Add normal living expenses, and Stone says it will cost about $300,000 annually.
“I don’t know a single human being who can afford $300,000 per year,” he notes,” especially when you’re forced to only have one person earning a (salary).”
Stone’s wife still works… but he quit his job to take care of his three kids.
“They give you $55 a day for children under the age of 6. It costs $55 an hour for intense therapy and you need at least 35 to 40 hours a week.”
Timmins NDP MPP Gilles Bisson will be in the Legislature on Tuesday, urging the government to revamp the system and pay the full cost of autism treatment. He says it should be looked at the same way heart disease and cancer are.