One year ago, the wait for an autism assessment in B.C. averaged 55 weeks.
Despite efforts to speed up the process, that delay has now jumped to 60 weeks, with even longer waits in some regions of the province.
New Westminster mom Therese Martin was told her two-year-old son Zachary would need to wait about two years before he could be assessed.
“He’ll go around to all the children and be pushing them and pulling them and that kind of thing,” she said. “He does some repetitive behaviours as well.”
The provincial government increased funding by more than $1 million, which allowed for additional assessments, but demand continued to soar.
Last year, an extra 600 referrals were made, yet only about a 170 additional assessments were completed.
“We did respond in exactly the way we said, which was to significantly increase the number of assessments that cost anywhere between between $2,500 and $5,000 each,” Health Minister Adrian Dix told Global News.
“And we have to keep working on it, because clearly those wait times are too long for parents and for children.”
Martin says the delays are unacceptable, adding, “there has to be something that can be done to move up the waitlist for everybody that’s in the process right now.”
She now plans to pay several thousand dollars for a private assessment so Zachary can finally get a diagnosis.