Stacey Haley, mother of autistic twin boys, is one of several Ontario parents having to leave home and extended family and move to Alberta in order for her sons to receive proper care. She says she doesn't "see a future" in Ontario:
The Liberals promised in their 2003 election campaign to lift "unfair'' and "discriminatory'' age limits on costly childhood autism therapy. But now they're appealing an Ontario Superior Court decision from April 2005 that gave parents the right to provincial funding for a specialized autism therapy extended beyond the previous cutoff age of six years.
While lifting the cutoff is helpful, Haley said it still doesn't address lengthy waiting lists for specialized therapy.
She's been trying unsuccessfully to get government funding for more than a year to access Intensive Behavioural Intervention therapy that's supposed to give autistic kids a better chance at coping with the condition later in life.
I'm not surprised that McWimpy is backing down from yet another election promise. He needs some wiggle-room to assuage political bumblings like the Caledonia fiasco.
In another CTV report, the father of a six-year old autistic boy calls the Ontario provincial government "despicable":
New Democrat health critic Shelley Martel said the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is not funding families of autistic children at the promised levels.
Martel said Freedom of Information requests have revealed that in 2003-04, the ministry budgeted $80 million for autism but never used $32 million of it.
The following fiscal year, $89 million was budgeted for autism services, but $21 million was diverted to other children's programs in the ministry.
Martel said that in the meantime, about 400 autistic children who qualified for therapy were "languishing'' on a years-long waiting list.
"A government that does that has no morals,'' she said. "They have betrayed these families."
Too bad these parents won't be around in 2007 to vent their anger against the Lieberals in the next provincial election. Perhaps we can take up the cause for them.