QUEEN’S PARK - Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, NDP MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell, said that Doug Ford’s cuts means that children with autism in the northwest will have less access to local autism services, and increased travel costs for families.
In her member’s statement, Monteith-Farrell, MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan, shared the story of one local family whose challenges will get worse because of Ford’s cuts to autism services.
“Children on the autism spectrum and their parents face a number of challenges in Northwestern Ontario,” said Monteith-Farrell
“One of my constituents, Alina Cameron, has a daughter. She told me that her daughter is non-verbal, severely autistic and needs 24 hour care.
“She is currently receiving services through a pilot program in Thunder Bay. Alina told me that her daughter has had amazing results, but the program is ending soon.
“Her daughter will have nowhere to go for services.
“There simply aren’t enough diagnosticians and service providers available in Northwestern Ontario. That’s the reality that families face.
“There is nothing in this government’s plan to address that.
“This plan also ignores the travel costs that families in Northwestern Ontario face. Families have to pay the cost of travelling great distances to access autism programs, and that means less money for autism services.
“Northerners can use the Northern Travel Grant to get to far away medical appointments covered by OHIP, but they can’t use it — or anything like it — to get their kids to autism therapy appointments.
“That’s just not right.
“What we need is a concrete plan to ensure that all children receive services based on need. A plan that addresses the regional disparities in the availability of service providers. We need a plan that addresses the thousands of dollars that families spend just to get to appointments.
“None of that is in this government’s plan. In fact, this government’s cuts are taking things from bad to worse.
“I call on this government to go back and consult with parents and professionals.
“We need a plan that works.”
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