Autism Reality

Ontario Rescues Autism Summer Camp from Harper Funding Cuts




The Liberal government of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has stepped in to announce it would provide funding to ensure that a summer camp for autistic children remained open after it had been announced that the federal Conservative government of Stephen Harper was cutting funding for the camp. Stephen Harper cutting funding for autistic children? No surprise there.

Ontario rescues camp for autistic children

May 18, 2007 04:30 AM
bruce campion-smith
ottawa burea

OTTAWA–While a Toronto camp for autistic children will now go ahead this summer after Queen’s Park came to the rescue, hundreds of other community projects across Canada are in doubt because they are being refused funding to hire students by the federal Conservatives.

But Ontario wasted no time yesterday in announcing it would help run the Yes I Can! camp.

Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario’s minister of children and youth services, said she was moved to act after reading in yesterday’s Star that Ottawa had rejected the camp’s funding request.

“We will make sure that that summer camp continues for these kids,” Chambers told the Legislature.

“We, the government of Ontario, will invest the $38,000 that they have lost in order to ensure that these kids can continue to have a summer camp,” she said.

For more than a decade, the school has relied on federal funding to hire student counsellors to run a camp for up to 65 pre-schoolers with autism as well as low-income kids.

Janet MacDougall, the school’s executive director, said she was grateful for the province’s offer although she hadn’t been given official word last night.

“I am so grateful they are coming to the party,” MacDougall said.

She said the provincial cash was welcomed, especially since she’s been pushing Queen’s Park for three years to provide funding for her school.

MacDougall says she was overwhelmed by the response to the Star article, including calls from the offices of federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, provincial Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory and countless Star readers, all keen to donate cash or offer their help to keep the camp open.

Bert Levy offered up $9,500 from the Orion Foundation, a charity that assists people with disabilities, to kickstart the community fundraising.

“They’re stepping on the very weakest of our people. Makes you wonder,” he said of Ottawa’s decision to reject the funding request to help autistic kids.”

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/215326

Advertisements

May 18, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Dalton McGuinty, Ontario, Stephen Harper, Yes I Can | Leave a comment

Good News from Ontario on Autism & Education – ABA in Ontario Schools



Good news for autistic students in Ontario. The government of Ontario is directing ALL school boards to provide Applied Behaviour Analysis to all students with autism.

TORONTO, May 17 /CNW/ – The McGuinty government is improving the learning environment for students with autism spectrum disorders by directing all school boards to provide Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Education Minister Kathleen Wynne announced today.

“All students with autism deserve equal access to this vital teaching
approach that can improve their focus on individual projects and strengthen
their communication with other students in the classroom,” said Wynne.
“We are implementing our plan to ensure students with autism receive the
best education possible.”

The Ministry of Education instructed school boards today that they must
provide programs that use ABA methods to students who need it. This
directive is part of the government’s response to the recommendations of
Autism Reference Group report, Making a Difference for Students with
Autism Spectrum Disorders in Ontario Schools: From Evidence to Action,
received earlier this year.

The implementation of ABA will be supported by extensive staff training
starting with six to eight representatives, including superintendents,
principals, teachers, teaching assistants, school support staff and Special
Education Advisory Committee members, from each school board over the
next two months. This will be followed by school team training – funded
through a $1-million investment – for up to 1,400 principals, educational
assistants and teachers over the summer months.

Additionally, the government has provided a grant of $2.75 million to
the Geneva Centre for Autism. “We are very grateful for the government’s
support so we can provide further training on ABA approaches to school
staff in the fall,” said Margaret Whelan, Executive Director of the Geneva
Centre for Autism. “This investment will allow educators to help more
students with autism succeed.”

May 17, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, autism education, Dalton McGuinty, Liberal Party, Ontario, schools | 3 Comments

Will Liberals Broken Autism Promise Come Back to Haunt Them?



The Supreme Court of Canada has handed the autism football back to Ontario Premier and Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty turning down the Deskin Wynberg appeal without reasons but now handing parents of autistic children two SCC defeats and making it clear that Canadian courts will not provide effective Charter equality rights to their children. There are many assumptions built into such reasoning but it is hard to reconcile any real notion of equality rights with a deference that allows political decision makers to do as they wish with respect to some of the most vulnerable members of society. In any event now, in Ontario, it is back to Dalton McGuinty.

Will Mr. McGuinty be haunted by his broken election pledge to provide treatment to autistic children past the age of 6? The Standard suggests that it is one more example of failed leadership on the part of the Ontario Premier:

“During the 2003 provincial election, families with autistic children were acutely aware of the government’s policy and for them it was a hot button issue in the weeks leading up to the vote.

In a nutshell, they were incensed with the Ernie Eves Progressive Conservatives and a government practice that cut off funding for IBI therapy when a child turned six.

As the argument went, it was discriminatory, a violation of these children’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As it was, the issue was very political. The Tories had to defend their record. The NDP and the Liberals lined up to attack it.

On the campaign trail, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty was dropping promises across the province, endearing himself and his party to Ontario voters.

One of those promises was to extend government support of IBI therapy for autistic children past the age of six.

This is what the parents of autistic children wanted to hear.

They started to put their support behind McGuinty. They talked to their families, neighbours and friends and encouraged votes for the Liberal party.

The Liberals won the election, and then reneged on the promise.

Not only did McGuinty fail to meet the pledge, his government has spent an untold amount of taxpayer money (the government has refused freedom of information requests for the amount) defending its autism policy against the lawsuit from angered parents feeling, quite rightly, betrayed.

Put this one in the file with the Liberals’ 2003 campaign promise not to raise taxes. It should also put to rest any questions about why recent polls have McGuinty trailing PC Leader John Tory by 10 points when questions about leadership are asked.”

http://tinyurl.com/2zb9hj

Of course the Liberals have promised to require schools to provide ABA trained assistance by next school year a promise which would appear to be impossible to keep. And Lawyer Mary Eberts who represented the families in the unsuccessful Deskin Wyneberg case said that the people providing the ABA will not be trained:

“It needs to be in schools,” Eberts said, dismissing the province’s ABA plan as “a wishy-washy approach that’s offered by people with no training.”

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2007/04/12/autism-scoc.html

Can a leader who backs out of a promise to do the right thing by autistic children be trusted to lead a province? If he will betray the weak and vulnerable who can trust him?

April 16, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Dalton McGuinty, election promises | Leave a comment