I respond to an article from the Oakville Beaver, MAY2016: Improving autism services for children and youths. My comments are in CAPS and bold.
There are approximately 40,000 children and youths in Ontario with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and prevalence rates continue to rise. (THERE ARE ALSO ADULTS WITH AUTISM. WHAT IS THEIR PLIGHT IN ONTARIO TODAY? WHAT CAN OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH EXPECT WHEN THEY REACH ADULTHOOD, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HAD POSITIVE OUTCOMES TO IBI OR ABA TREATMENT?)
Despite our government’s annual investments of $190 million the current system isn’t meeting the needs of families seeking programs more intensive, integrated, and flexible to meet their changing needs over time.( CONTINUED FRUSTRATION FROM PARENTS BEGS THE QUESTION – WHO IS AT THE DECISION MAKING TABLE? IS IT THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD A TICKET TO THE FUNDRAISER? FAMILIES STRUGGLING IN THE TRENCHES ARE NOT BEING HEARD, AND THEREFORE ARE UNABLE TO POSITIVELY INFLUENCE POLICY AND FUNDING DECISIONS, DECISIONS THAT COULD ULTIMATELY SAVE $$)
That’s why we’re investing an additional $333 million over five years to improve and expand autism services. (THROWING AN ADDITIONAL 66 MILLION/YEAR AT A “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL” POLICY AND RELATED PROGRAMS DOES NOT ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF FAMILIES)
It means that more children and youths with autism will receive support at the right time and services better matched to meet their individual needs. (YES – THE LITTLE ONES GET EARLY INTERVENTION FOR 2 YEARS. AFTER THAT – WHAT IS THE PLAN? IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE WAIT LIST FOR SERVICES. IT IS ABOUT THE PLAN. WHAT USE IS ABA FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT RESPOND TO IBI?
Under our new Ontario Autism Program (OAP), families will have easier access to services and shorter wait times. (YOU MEAN, YOUNG CHILDREN WHO ARE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE PROMPTLY DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM WILL NOT HAVE TO WAIT 3 YEARS FOR IBI)
More children will have access to early intervention services sooner. (A KERNEL OF TRUTH UPON WHICH YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS STAKED ITS PUBLIC RELATIONS )
And that means better outcomes for our young people with autism. (FOR SOME – BUT NOT FOR ALL. WHAT ABOUT THOSE OTHER KIDS WHO DO NOT RESPOND TO 2 YEARS OF IBI? IF A CHILD DOES NOT RESPOND TO IBI, THEN HOW WILL ABA, A LESS INTENSIVE TREATMENT, MAKE A DIFFERENCE? )
Services will be expanded across the spectrum for all children regardless of age (AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN THE OPTIMISM THAT SUFFICIENT FORCE WILL ALLOW A HAMMER TO DRIVE A SQUARE PEG INTO A ROUND HOLE).
And, contrary to misinformation spread by some, no child is being removed from services. In fact, 16,000 more children will receive the critical services they need each year through our improved and expanded program.( umm I THINK IT IS you WHO HAS MISINFORMATION! – IF YOU ARE ON THE WAIT LIST THEN YOU ARE NOT RECEIVING SERVICES – IT IS THOSE WHO WAIT FOR SERVICES THAT ARE IMPACTED BY YOUR LATEST ANNOUNCEMENTS)
As many families have told me, we are very well-served by ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development, the lead autism service provider for this region. (YES WE ARE FORTUNATE FOR THEIR PRESENCE IN THE REGION – HOWEVER ERINOAK REPRESENTS FIRST AND FOREMOST – ERINOAK! THEY DO NOT PUT AHEAD OF THEMSELVES, THE CHILDREN OR THEIR FAMILIES)
The world-renown organization is Ontario’s largest children’s treatment centre and a lifeline for so many families in our community. (YES THEY ARE – BUT THEY LET GO THE LIFELINES WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, BECAUSE THERE IS INSUFFICIENT LEGISLATIVE GUIDANCE FOR THE LONG TERM PROTECTION DISABLED PERSONS)
With $163 million in provincial funding to help build a new-state-of-the-art centre in Oakville — featuring specially created autism facilities — ErinoakKids will continue to be an excellent partner as we work to improve the lives of children and youths with autism. (A GOOD THING – BUT THE NEEDY AND THEIR LONG TERM NEEDS MUST BE AT THE BASIS OF THE SERVICE DELIVERY MODEL. MONUMENTS ARE JUST MONUMENTS AND THEY CAN SYMBOLIZE ACHIEVEMENT OR INADEQUACY – DEPENDING UPON THE SENTIMENT THAT UNDERLIES THEIR ESTABLISHMENT.)
PS – I would be happy to assist the multi-Ministries involved in the care of disabled Ontarians to better understand the needs of those least amongst us. I have a PhD in the school of hard knocks, and I put that up against any professional, any time.
— The Hon. Kevin Flynn is the MPP for Oakville and the Minister of Labour for Ontario. He has been the MPP for Oakville since he was first elected in 2003.