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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Hamilton, Ontario - February 6, 2023
Recently, Global news reported that this government missed it's self-imposed target of moving 8000 children into Core Clinical Services which is the direct funding part of the OAP (Ontario Autism Program).
Autism services in Ontario have historically been plagued with endless waitlists, red tape and lack of supports. Every time the government decided to make changes, any momentum in getting children into services was lost and waitlists grew.
When this government announced that they would endeavor to put a "needs based" program in place, we were cautiously optimistic. A massive overhaul was desperately needed and long overdue. No government had gotten it right. Previously, waitlists varied from region to region, only one type of intervention was supported, there was a conflict of interest with the regional providers handling both funding management and service delivery, and there was no regulation in place.
all the regional waitlists have been centralized into one
wait list management & funding allocation have been removed from regional providers
speech services, occupational therapy (OT), mental health services, technology, program materials, equipment & travel expenses have been added alongside ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) as eligible expenses
ABA is in the process of being regulated
While much progress has been made, we are still disappointed that this government did not meet its target.
Both the pandemic, and delays in getting AccessOAP up and running have been catastrophic to this OAP's rollout and implementation. Families are still confused about the process and what is offered.
While the processing of registrations and issuing of OAP numbers has been faster since AccessOAP took over the administration of the OAP from the Ministry, much more needs to be done to streamline the process of getting families into Core Clinical Services; as well as informing them of the supports that are available to them now.
However, we must stress that children and youths who are disabled but not autistic don't have access to a comparable program like the OAP. If this government is going to implement a true "needs based" program, then it should be for ALL needs - not just one diagnosis. Otherwise, it's simply discriminatory. There is no reason why this province can't have an Ontario Disability Program (ODP) that meets the needs of children and youths of all disabilities.
We need to see more progress with the OAP's implementation and a prioritization of supporting all disabled Ontarians.
For more information, please contact our team at balanceSSCS@gmail.com
Balance Support & Self Care Studios was created with parents and caregivers of individuals with diverse needs in mind. We recognize the value of the staff and community. We are committed to striving for excellence through inclusiveness, team collaboration, quality of services, and the participation and contributions of volunteers and community members. To learn more, please check out our website
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