Once again, parents of autistic children in Canada are forced to go to court to seek government funded therapy for their children. If only governments would put as much effort and resources into providing therapy for autistic children and less into resisting their parents efforts to obtain a better life for their children.
Parents sue Ontario for autism treatment
Last Updated: Friday, February 2, 2007 | 1:28 PM ET
Parents of autistic children are appearing in a Toronto court Friday to try force the Ontario government to pay for their children's treatment.
The parents are currently being forced to pay for the therapy out of their own pockets, often at a cost of thousands of dollars.
Five families are part of the group that launched a $1.25-billion lawsuit. They claim that seven school boards and the government have discriminated against their children and denied them a public education by failing to provide access to specialized treatment in school.
David Baker, a lawyer representing the families, argued in court Thursday that families are being forced to choose between sending their autistic children to school or paying for costly intensive behavioural intervention therapy.
Private therapy costs between $30,000 and $80,000 a year for one child.
'Just another Band-Aid solution': parent
The lawsuit marks the latest battle between parents of autistic children and the province.
Last July, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the province does not have to pay for costly specialized autism treatment for children ages six and older.
Since the ruling, the government has said will provide funding to treat autistic children over six years of age if an assessment shows they are in need.
Two weeks ago, Ontario promised to boost spending on a program to provide therapy by $13 million, increasing total spending on autism to $115 million a year.
One parent involved in the lawsuit criticized the funding as "just another Band-Aid solution."
Opposition parties say the government has spent much less on autism programs than promised in the 2003 election campaign.