An estimated 60,000 British Columbians live with autism, a number that is sure to grow.
Global News has accessed shocking new data from the health ministry, which shows a huge increase in the number of children waiting to get assessed for autism.
In 2013-14, 1,719 kids were waiting. Last year, there were more than 2,000. Now, more than 3,200 children under the age of 19 are waiting for an assessment.
That queue translates to an average wait time of 55.5 weeks.
WATCH: Wait for autism assessment now more than a year
The Ministry of Health says it recently increased funding by $1.2 million, allowing for 438 additional assessments. It also increased the number of assessors from 44 to 52.
Still, those waits could be all but eliminated if private facilities were utilized, at a cost of about $3,000 per child.
Globalnews.ca coverage of autism
Becca Yu with Monarch House, a private facility, says this isn’t happening now, however they “have engaged the government, including with the current government.”
When asked about contracting out to private facilities, Health Minister Adrian Dix told Global News, “I don’t exclude any options.”