On Monday in Toronto, MPP for the Bay of Quinte, Todd Smith, held a press conference addressing the new provincial government’s autism plan.
“Our government is committed to a needs-based program that provides children and youth with the supports they need to thrive,” said Todd Smith, who is also the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
The provincial government’s controversial plan was released in February, and was designed to eliminate waiting lists by giving families money directly but limiting children with autism under the age of six to $20,000 dollars, regardless of where they are on the spectrum.
The recent changes, however, have caused uncertainty for one Kingston parent, whose daughter was diagnosed with severe autism by the Maltby Centre, and has yet to see aid.
“If they say she needs it and if they are the ones getting the money and it’s not coming to me, then why is my daughter waiting?” said Frank Holmes, father of a three-year old child with autism.
Holmes told Global News that his daughter qualified for the maximum amount of funding during the first change in February because of her age and his income, but now Holmes says she is still on a wait list.
“She’s entering pre-kindergarten, and she needs support. At times I do feel like a failure because she’s not talking, and not using the potty,” said Holmes.
“She’s awesome, very active and smart, but there are things where all parents with children on the spectrum are like, ‘am I doing enough?'”
According to Holmes, his daughter’s acceptance into government-funded program is still unknown.
The province says there will be an autism expert panel that will begin on April 2020, a group of 20 people who will consider the new ‘needs-based’ autism plan.
Until then, Smith says, there will be a six-month extension for families under their current plan.