The Ontario government is not doing enough to support adults with autism, according to 32-year-old Kevin Moore.
“Governments are forgetting people like me,” said Moore on Thursday during an interview with Global News.
While he lives on his own, Moore, who has autism spectrum disorder, requires constant support. His parents, Lynne Moore and Bill Fortnum, moved across the street from his condo building so they could make daily visits.
The family said they are encouraged by news earlier this week that the government will be taking a second look at proposed changes to the Ontario Autism Program and moving forward with a needs-based approach, but were disappointed Social Services Minister Todd Smith said nothing about supports for adults.
“I have not heard anything in the new legislation that addresses adult children,” said Fortnum.
Right now in Ontario, funding for adults with autism spectrum disorder is limited. Individuals can receive some funding from what’s called “Passport,” a program that helps adults 18 or older with a developmental disability to participate in their communities, but the wait list is a long one.
“We waited over 10 years for Passport funding which we just got approved, but now again we are waiting to see what services he can get access to now that we have the money,” said Lynne.
Autism therapist and outspoken advocate for the autism community Jamie Santana told Global News he believes Passport funding has stalled.
“The government isn’t doing enough to support adults with autism. Currently, the Passport funding is frozen. No new funds have been released,” said Santana.
“Adults with autism are capable of being independent and securing employment. As a province, however, we have failed in helping them accomplish that. We need to take a step back, rethink how we can accomplish that, and move forward.”
Meanwhile, Kevin is looking for work but can’t find any. He volunteers in a program geared toward other adults like him that are on the spectrum and hopes to one day work in a craft store like Michael’s.
His mother said she hopes now that a new minister is in charge of social services more will be done for Kevin.
“You have to look at the full stage of life, you can’t just look at under five, then youth and then forget about them when their older,” she said.
Late on Thursday, Smith’s office sent Global News a statement on our story. Officials said, in part, the government funds a number of programs for adults with autism, including ones that support employment and language. They said they are looking at ways they can improve the current system.