Government listening to parents and caregivers on how to better support children and youth with autism
Ontario’s government is putting families first by engaging them in public consultations on how children and youth with autism who have complex needs can be better supported.
“I invite all people across Ontario to take part in the largest consultation on autism in the history of the province,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “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.”
There are two ways for families to participate in the consultations during the month of May – an online survey and a series of telephone town halls. Participants will be asked to provide their insight on:
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.
How health and social supports for children with autism can be better integrated.
“It is our top priority to ensure every student in this province feels safe and supported at school,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education. “We want to hear from Ontario families about how this government can continue to support both students and educators.”
Aggregate, de-identified information gathered through the consultations will be reviewed by a new advisory panel made up of parents with lived experience, adults with autism, educators and other experts. The panel will review the information gathered through the consultations and will provide advice on developing a new needs assessment process and 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.
“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,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “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.”
To be eligible for the Ontario Autism Program, a child must have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder from a qualified professional. Families are eligible to apply for program funding for children and youth up to age 18.
There are currently more than 32,000 children and youth registered in the Ontario Autism Program.
Consultations Web Page: http://ontario.ca/autism
Dedicated Autism ServiceOntario Toll-Free Number: 1-888-284-8340