Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is Ontario's Autism Shame Contagious?

Ontario NDP health critic France Gelinas has blasted Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government, in an article in the Sudbury Star, for its shameful, on-again, off-again commitment to providing treatment to autistic children, leaving many of them languishing on waiting lists where some never actually graduate to receive treatment.

Ms Gelinas accuses the McGuinty government of closing the door on autistic children in Northern Ontario and leaves no doubt where she, and the Ontario NDP, stand on the issue:

Families have actually left Ontario altogether for Alberta where programs are fully funded. That western province and its comprehensive funding for autism attracted a world autism expert from Ontario. More could follow.

We have a choice to create the kind of Ontario we want. In my Ontario, autism treatment would be fully funded and the children's needs addressed. Along with my MPP colleague, Ontario's NDP Critic for Autism, Andrea Horwath, I believe there should be an immediate increase to the funding of autism services so regional centres can respond to the needs of these children.

To hold back on funding while children and families continue to suffer and struggle is inexcusable.

Each day children with autism languish on waiting lists and are denied access to services is another day that their potential for progress and success is thwarted by the McGuinty government's inaction. We can -- and must -- do better.

Hopefully, the lack of concern for autistic children exhibited by the Ontario government is not contagious. Here in New Brunswick a praiseworthy autism service delivery model for children has been built. But we are hearing rumblings that the next budget will see funding for autism services cut. Hopefully the rumours are wrong and Premier Shawn Graham will continue to back up his expressed concern for autistic children by providing the required funding as he has during the first two years of his term.

1 comment:

mike said...

The study defined "older" parents as mothers aged 35 or older and fathers aged 40 or older (maternal age 35, paternal age 40 years). The risk of developing ASD increased significantly with each 10-year increase in both maternal age and paternal age. Each 10-year increase in maternal age was associated with a 20% increase in ASD risk while each 10-year increase in paternal age was associated with a 30% increase in ASD risk.The study also confirmed earlier studies showing greater risk of ASD development amongst first born children of older parents.
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