Ford Government To Lead Public Consultations About The Ontario Autism Program
The Ontario government has stated that will be listening to parents and caregivers on how to support children with autism through public consultations.
Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod stated in a press release, "I invite all people across Ontario to take part in the largest consultation on autism in the history of the province."
Families can either participate in an online survey or a series of telephone town halls. Families will be asked a series of questions, including: how Ontario Autism Program services and supports help families and children's learning and development, how families would use any additional funding based on need, recommendations for the Ontario Autism Program, the role the education system should play in supporting students with autism to achieve their learning goals and how health and social supports for children with autism can be better integrated.
"We are listening, and your advice will be invaluable in helping us best assess how we can build a needs-based approach to autism services, including through additional direct funding in Childhood Budgets," says MacLeod.
According to the press release, the information will then be reviewed by an advisory panel made up of parents, adults with autism, educators and other experts. They will then provide advice on a new needs assessment process and an approach to supporting children and youth with autism, including those with complex needs.
"I look forward to collaborating with the advisory panel, a group of incredibly knowledgeable and passionate individuals that I know will provide invaluable advice for developing enhancements to the autism program," added MacLeod.
There are currently more than 32,000 children and youth registered in the Ontario Autism Program. To be eligible for the program, the child must have a diagnosis from a qualified professional and under the age of 18.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott says, "our government wants to hear how we can do a better job connecting social services with health care services, and that includes how Ontario Health Teams interface with those supports. It shouldn't be up to the family to navigate the various government services available to support their child - it should be up to the government to put the child at the centre."