A mother from Kingston, Ont., is asking the provincial government for help after she says she hasn’t received funding in months for her son who has autism.
Cynthia Honeywell is a single mother, working full time from home while also taking care of her 13-year-old son Benjamin.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all programs for children with autism are suspended, which makes funding that much more critical.
“I know that some share my sentiments that special needs family have been forgotten a bit. This is a difficult logistic for any normative child and for a child that has special requirements it’s additionally hard,” says Honeywell.
Honeywell says she’s been waiting months to receive one-time interim funding from the Ontario Autism Program (OAP), which provides financial support to families of youth with autism.
“The OAP to me was the most important because it’s immediate funding into the bank,”
Honeywell was entitled to receive the interim one-time autism funding in March as well as the special services at home funding in April. She says she was already approved for funding, which is why she finds it frustrating that some families may have to go out of pocket.
Families can benefit from funding in order to help purchase services, such as respite, behavioural services such as assessments and consultations, occupational therapy and more.
Honeywell’s frustrations led her to contact the provincial and federal governments but she says she has not received a response.
She believes her funding has been delayed due to the pandemic.
Palmer Lockridge, press secretary for Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, who is also the minister of children, community and social services, was notified about Honeywell’s current situation and sent a statement to Global News, which reads, in part: “It generally takes about four weeks for a family to receive funds. The ministry is currently experiencing a high volume of applications and our processing may be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
For the time being, Honeywell is receiving some help from two support workers.
“Even our at-home support is limited to outside the house, or when it’s a beautiful day being able to go kick the ball, maybe ride his bike.”
While in isolation, Honeywell says she is grateful for the support she has received, however, she hopes she can get the funding that her son needs soon.
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