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BCBAs voice their concerns

Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs) supervise the Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) programs, including the Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) program, that address the needs of children with autism. A group of these professionals have written the following letter to Minister Tracy MacCharles to make their concerns about Ontario’s proposed changes to autism services known. These practitioners, the people who actually work with children on the autism spectrum, were not permitted to participate in the “Expert Panel” that recently reported to the Minister.

Click this link to download the letter: BCBA group letter to Minister MacCharles

 
DAY OF ACTION

Today’s Action Reaches the Media:

 

AM640

Concerned Parents Rally Against Autism Program Changes

 

CBCNews Windsor

NDP's Lisa Gretzky proud of Windsor's fight at Queen's Park

 

CBCNews Kitchener - Waterloo

Parents hold Kitchener protest over Ontario gov't changes to autism funding

 

570 News

Around 100 gather in Downtown Kitchener for Autism Rally

 

CTVNews Kitchener

Parents protest changes to autism therapy program

Rally for Autism Services

 

CKWS

Protest against changes to Ontario Autism Program


Simcoe.com

Barrie protest against autism cuts draws ire, tears from parents

 

Stcatharinesstandard.ca

Autism advocates demand reversal


Kingstonregion.com

Kingston parents hold rally to show ‘autism doesn’t end at five’

 

thewhig.com

We’re not going to back down



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Media Release

We issued our media release this morning in response to the government announcement.

OAC Media Release regarding new autism program 

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An infographic explanation

We’ve been telling the Ontario government for years about ways to serve more kids with the same amount of money. One of the best ways would be to switch to a direct funding model and cut expensive Regional Program Providers out of the equation. This infographic, created by Anne Jovanovic, gives the explanation. Post it anywhere you wish, and pass it along to anyone who has questions.

Image
 
It's time to take action again

More than ten years ago our organization fought against age-six cutoff for the Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) program for children with autism. We held 26 rallies in cities across Ontario, from Windsor to Ottawa, from Grimsby to Sudbury. We managed to get the government to keep their promise to end those age cutoffs. But the Ontario government has announced that it will enact an even more restrictive age cutoff for the IBI program than the one we managed to get them to strike down 11 years ago. Now the cutoff will be five years of age. Thousands of children will be dumped in the blink of an eye, with no alternative program in sight until 2018. We’re going to have to do it all over again. Rallies, petitions, letters, meetings, and a very creative “more.” Please join us (t’s free) by clicking on the “Join Us” link at the left. You can also join our Facebook group. And ask your friends to do the same. It will take a lot of people to make enough noise to get this disaster fixed. Here’s the story from CBC news:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-budget-ontario-reax-1.3512703
CBC News Posted: Mar 30, 2016 7:55 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 30, 2016 7:55 PM ET

Ontario strategy to tackle autism therapy wait list leaves parents ‘very livid’ Changes would see intensive therapy eliminated for children 5 and up

Mountain View

The Ontario government’s new plan to tackle wait list times for autism therapy has two Ottawa-area parents airing their concerns. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

The Ontario government’s plan to reduce autism treatment wait times by gradually eliminating intensive therapy for children five years and older is being harshly criticized by two Ottawa-area parents of children with autism. “[It’s] a horrible blow to our family and so many other children that will be taken off the wait list, that have not even had the opportunity to get services through the program,” said Tanya Corey, whose four-year-old son Lucas has been on the intensive therapy wait list for 17 months.
In the $133-billion budget, tabled in February, the Liberals promised $333 million to “redesign and consolidate” services for children and youth with autism.
This week, the government unveiled its strategy for reducing autism therapy wait times — and one key tenet of that strategy involves eliminating intensive behavioural intervention therapy, or IBI, for children aged five and up.
According to the statement from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, IBI will be refocused on children between the ages of two and four. Children over five who currently receive IBI will be gradually moved to “more clinically appropriate Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services,” the ministry said.

There is absolutely no proof out there that once a child turns five … they will not benefit from this therapy
—Tanya Corey, parent of a child with autism

“The new approach is informed by advice from families, clinical experts and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Expert Committee,” the ministry said. “It is consistent with scientific evidence and will provide a more responsive continuum of supports.”
According to a Freedom of Information request filed by the NDP, thousands more children are on the provincial wait lists than 10 years ago, and there are signs that the number of children receiving autism therapy may actually be dropping.
Minister of Children and Youth Services Tracy MacCharles could not be reached for an interview Thursday afternoon.

‘Very livid’

Corey told Alan Neal, the host of CBC Ottawa’s All In A Day, that putting the IBI cutoff at five years old was completely arbitrary. “There are other studies that have shown that children between the ages of two and six have the most progress and benefit the most from this,” she said.
“There is absolutely no proof out there that once a child turns five … they will not benefit from this therapy.”
Heather Bourdon, whose son Jacob turns five in April, told All In A Day she was “very livid” when she heard the news.
She said the government’s strategy may be designed to reduce wait times, but it doesn’t address one important underlying factor: the length of time it takes for children to get a proper autism diagnosis. 
“In Ontario, the average age of diagnosis is four years old,” she said.
“So if you’re not familiar with autism and your doctor is not familiar, then by the time you actually notice [the symptoms] and by the time you wait for the diagnosis, your child will be past this window of opportunity.”

$8,000 in one-time funding

As part of the new strategy, the province is planning to establish an advisory group made up of parents, service providers and other experts to make the transition a smooth one. Families who have children five years and older on the IBI wait list will also receive a one-time payment of $8,000 to “immediately purchase community services or supports based on their children’s specific needs,” the ministry said.
Corey dismissed that promise as nothing more than “hush money.”
“I think it’s disgraceful. It’s not even a drop in the bucket of what these children would be getting if they were getting the IBI that we were told they were going to get.”

 
 
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