From funding "all children" to funding some
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The waiting list issue is not a new one. It was flagged in a 2004 ombudsman's investigation into the program. That report suggests the ministry was aware as early as 2000, when it signed contracts with regional service providers, that they overestimated their ability to meet demand.
The initial program vision in 1999 was for "all young children with autism" in the province would be given "consistent, high quality, intensive early intervention services."
"The amended (2000) vision deleted the reference to 'all' young children, as well as the specific reference to 'intensive early intervention services,'" the report notes.
In response to the report, MCYS noted the intensive therapy was funded "to the level of available resources and not to the level of need."
Waiting list "shouldn't exist": Autism Ontario
Every child that needs intensive behavioral intervention should have the therapy funded, according to the executive director of Autism Ontario.
"The kids who need this service, need this service," said Margaret Spoelstra. "The fact that we have kids waiting means that we're losing precious time."
According to Spoelstra, IBI can change the trajectory of a child's development drastically.
"It gets you to a point where you can help that child to learn rapidly, and you have positive reinforcement both for the instructors, the therapists, as well as the families because they see their kids learning when they understand how to use (IBI's) tools."