New Autism Treatment Funding for Ontario!

New Autism Treatment Funding for Ontario!

In Ontario in the past, in order to get IBI or ABA therapy for your child with autism meant getting on the ridiculously long waiting list with a qualified, health-care plan funded organization, commonly children’s hospitals. The long-awaited option to seek out therapy with private sector providers has finally been announced, with changes set to roll out on January 15th, 2018.
Key Facts
Everyone is extremely fuzzy on the actual details, including providers, and even the Ontario Government website is pretty vague about what these changes really are, and how to apply for/receive funding for private sector IBI/ABA. The program has been coined the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). The biggest change is that this is now an option. Where previously your child had to go on lengthy waiting lists, only to be bumped off once they are no longer eligible for IBI and now require ABA therapy, making them start afresh on the waiting lists, families can now seek funding through the Ontario Government to fund such treatment to the tune of $55/hr at private sector providers such as Emerging Minds, with qualified Art Therapists, and so on.
I encourage you to visit the Ontario website here to learn everything you can about the new program, but here are a few details that may help you get started, from their website.
To quote directly from the website, “Minister Michael Coteau will be hosting Tele Town Halls on January 11 at 7 p.m. and January 17 at 7 p.m. to answer questions from parents and caregivers. More details will be available on Ontario.ca/autism.” (I’m pretty sure there’s a typo in there regarding the date or time, since it’s repeated twice). If you are the parent of a child on the spectrum in Ontario, I also strongly urge you to visit the ontario.ca/autism site, as there is lots of useful information there. If you haven’t already, you should also be applying for Special Services at Home for funding to give you respite care, cover the costs of private lessons (i.e. therapeutic riding, one-on-one swimming lessons, etc.).
The good news: families can now access direct funding for therapy providers of their choice. The bad news? Ontario wants ONE waiting list for either option – regional providers or direct funding. It will remain to be seen whether this actually speeds up the process of getting to the top of that waiting list, or whether those waiting for services will still have a long wait.
For those of us who have been on the 18-month waiting list for what feels like forever, this could be good news. But for some, it’s too little, too late. Many kids under the age of five in Ontario have already  missed out on crucial therapy because they ‘aged out’ while waiting for their names to be called, only to have to go on a second waiting list for ABA. Furthermore, regional providers were in key locations across Ontario, with some areas completely lacking providers that are located in close proximity to them. I moved my family away from the town we lived in, in order to be able to access these services, this past February, and we are STILL on the waiting list.
I’m sorry I don’t have more clear information for you, but at least check out the websites above to find out more about the OAP, and definitely go through the ENTIRE Autism Ontario website for details about funding for March Break and summer camps, scholarship information, and more.
Stay tuned for more information!
 

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