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Saskatchewan children 6-11 with autism now eligible for up to $6,000 a year

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Starting Tuesday, older children with autism will get some money from the Saskatchewan government to cover services they need.

Children between six and eleven with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can now qualify for Autism Individualized Funding.

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The money was allocated in the 2021-2022 budget. Kids between six and 11 with ASD can now get up to $6,000 a year, while children under six with ASD can receive up to $8,000 annually.

“This funding gives parents and caregivers flexibility to choose from a range of eligible therapeutic interventions and family support that best suits their child’s individual needs,” said health minister Paul Merriman.

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Merriman said the money can go toward services and programs that help improve the child’s functional abilities, such as receiving mental health help like psychologists or psychiatrists, to physical therapy and speech language pathology, and even respite care to help the family.

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“Each child is unique and the supports they may need will also be unique to them,” said social services minister Lori Carr.

“Individualized funding allows parents and caregivers to choose the programing supports that best suit their child’s individual needs.”

Autism Services of Saskatoon said it’s important for services and programs to be customized around each individual child, and this funding will help parents do that more easily.

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While they said it is a great move, they noted more is needed for older kids and young adults.

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“Once they become an adult they don’t stop having autism,” said development coordinator Carol Tebay.

Tebay said they moved services to group sessions because there’s so much need.

“We just could not do specific, individualized service to every single child every single term. We had to break that up a bit to try and serve as many people as we possibly can,” she said.

In an emailed statement, the province said it expects this expansion will help around 1,000 families in Saskatchewan.

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