Emailed this afternoon, Feb 6, 2019, to several members of Ontario government and two staff at The Star. Honoured members of Government, members of the Press, and to Those Whom This Concerns,
Recently, the Ford government announced the decision to overhaul Autism service provision in Ontario. One of the goals in the overhaul is to address the extremely long wait list for services implemented during a crucial window in a child’s development. As often pointed out in early education and development, what happens in the first six years of a child’s life has lasting effects on the rest of their lives.
However, myself and other autistic people across Ontario are concerned and would like to take the opportunity to address those concerns.
We are concerned that the currently announced amount of direct funding will not be enough to support services for all needs and supports throughout the year. We are concerned that there will be an age discrimination on the direct funding, that this will affect late diagnosed autistics such as older children, teenagers, adults and seniors, who are also deserving of support and services in Ontario and throughout their lives, in education, employment, health care, and daily living.
We have concerns about the resources that parents have in making decisions on spending their direct funding. We want to make sure that they know of all of the options available to them, that there are services and supports that are less stressful for themselves, their families and their children that are possibly more cost efficient, suit their child’s needs, and backed by scientific research.
Parents have a right to know that ABA is under scrutiny by current autism research for its possible contribution to the high rates of mental health issues in autistic people, and that studies arguing for its efficiency do not look at the long term effects. Parents have a right to know that alternatives exist, and we are concerned that there needs to be resources and information available for them to make those decisions.
The International Society For Autism Research is having its annual meeting in Montreal this May. I know that myself, researchers, and other attendees would appreciate if autism research regarding practical supports and services would be put into direct funding policy to positively affect the lives of autistic Ontarians. I have no position of authority to invite members of government, members of the press, parents, or any other interested persons to the annual meeting, but I highly recommend doing what myself and other autistic people do; talk with researchers and pay attention to what has been discovered in relation to the narratives of autistic adults and autism research.
I encourage politicians, parents, and all involved in these policies to pay attention to autistic adults who have been working with researchers for years. We wish to create better supports for all autistic people throughout our lifespan, from babe to old age, and support all of our needs and methods of communication, whether low or high, whether speaking, signing, texting, or AAC.
Thank you for reading,
Corina Lynn Becker