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

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

Ontario Schools Ordered to Make ABA Available for Autistic Students

In Ontario all schools have been ordered to make Applied Behavior Analysis “ABA”, available for autistic students by September 2007. To date ABA is the only intervention for treating and educating autistic children which is widely endorsed as evidence based and effective. It is not clear at this time how properly trained personnel will be made available in that time span to meet the Ontario requirement but hopefully that order will be implemented properly and the province does not back off of that commitment.

In New Brunswick, after years of parent advocacy, schools have already begun providing ABA services to autistic students in a few cases and commitments to provide training to teachers aides through the UNB-CEL Autism Intervention Training program have been made and confirmed. Parents of autistic children seeking to help their children have been misled before and will have to remain vigilant to ensure the commitments are met but the education commitments made in Ontario and New Brunswick are encouraging news for parents of autistic children in the two provinces.

TORONTO — School boards across Ontario are being served notice that they must be able to provide specialized autism treatment in classrooms, ideally by September, Education Minister Kathleen Wynne said yesterday.

Currently, parents of autistic children are often forced to choose between keeping their kids at home to receive expensive Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy or taking them to school, where they don’t receive the costly special treatment.

Those days will soon be over, since the government is issuing a directive to school boards that they won’t be able to ignore, Wynne said.

“We will be making sure that it happens and we will be putting supports in place,” said Wynne, who was unable to say how much the new policy would cost.

“There are many places in the province where this is already happening, but it has to be even across the province.”

The goal is to have the treatment standardized in schools across the province in time for the next school year, although there’s no guarantee that will happen on schedule, she added.

“Will there be places where there will still be work to do? Absolutely,” Wynne said.

“I can’t say that exactly the same thing will be happening in every classroom in all of the 5,000 schools across the province on the day after Labour Day, but absolutely it’s a goal to have a uniform understanding and delivery of that approach across the province — as soon as possible.”

The government’s announcement came in response to a newly released report by a panel of stakeholders, which made 34 recommendations on how to help Ontario’s autistic schoolchildren.

Advocates said they’re thrilled the government has agreed to immediately address 23 of the 34 recommendations and also to review the rest.

Getting ABA treatment in all schools would be an amazing development, but it’s equally important the government has committed to act on so many other recommendations, which will help a wide range of kids with different issues, said Karyn Dumble of Autism Ontario.

“It’s re-enforcing what we already know, that there’s many ways to teach so that students with autism will learn and this is something that our parents across this province have been advocating for,” she said.

Some parents, however, said the plan doesn’t help their children, who are still too young to go to school and caught on long waiting lists for subsidized treatment.

Friends of Lianne Crawford, whose three-year-old son is autistic, launched the website helpjack.ca to raise money for treatment, which costs $70,000 a year. The website has raised about $15,000.

“We get no government money and we’ll never see any funding unless something changes drastically (in government policy),” Crawford said.

Prior to the government’s announcement yesterday, Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory unveiled a campaign platform for autism funding that includes $75 million a year to cut the waiting list for treatment of kids under six.

The government’s new plan does some good, but doesn’t address the waiting list, Tory said.

“I’m not saying the things the government (plans) are wrong or shouldn’t be addressed, but I’m saying I think (we’re trying) to address the really big issues.

“We are in the fourth year of this government’s mandate, with an election six months away, and the government’s making that promise again.”

Laurel Gibbons, mother of a nine-year-old son with autism, said she, too, is skeptical.

“The school boards are going to need more time than six months in order to implement such a strategy,” she said. “Where are they getting the people that are going to be trained for this? What’s the hiring process?”

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/CityandRegion/2007/02/24/3661247-sun.html

February 24, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, autism education, Autism Society New Brunswick, Kathleen Wynne, Ontario, schools | Leave a comment

Parents Sue Ontario Government for Autism Treatment

Once again, parents of autistic children in Canada are forced to go to court to seek government funded therapy for their children. If only governments would put as much effort and resources into providing therapy for autistic children and less into resisting their parents efforts to obtain a better life for their children.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2007/02/02/ontario-lawsuit.html

Parents sue Ontario for autism treatment
Last Updated: Friday, February 2, 2007 | 1:28 PM ET
CBC News

Parents of autistic children are appearing in a Toronto court Friday to try force the Ontario government to pay for their children’s treatment.

The parents are currently being forced to pay for the therapy out of their own pockets, often at a cost of thousands of dollars.

Five families are part of the group that launched a $1.25-billion lawsuit. They claim that seven school boards and the government have discriminated against their children and denied them a public education by failing to provide access to specialized treatment in school.

David Baker, a lawyer representing the families, argued in court Thursday that families are being forced to choose between sending their autistic children to school or paying for costly intensive behavioural intervention therapy.

Private therapy costs between $30,000 and $80,000 a year for one child.
‘Just another Band-Aid solution’: parent

The lawsuit marks the latest battle between parents of autistic children and the province.

Last July, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the province does not have to pay for costly specialized autism treatment for children ages six and older.

Since the ruling, the government has said will provide funding to treat autistic children over six years of age if an assessment shows they are in need.

Two weeks ago, Ontario promised to boost spending on a program to provide therapy by $13 million, increasing total spending on autism to $115 million a year.

One parent involved in the lawsuit criticized the funding as “just another Band-Aid solution.”

Opposition parties say the government has spent much less on autism programs than promised in the 2003 election campaign.

February 2, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, funding, Ontario, therapy | Leave a comment