By: Laura Steiner
Milton parents gathered in front of MPP Parm Gill’s office Friday to protest changes made to autism funding. The peaceful gathering was organized by local Maria Garito in response to changes announced last week by Children, Community, and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod.
Among them was a “Childhood Budget,” targeted towards lower, and middle-income families. For example if a child entered the program at age 2, they would receive approximately $140,000 while a child entering at age 7 would get approximately $55,000. The funding will last until age 18. Parents will also get the flexibility through choosing their own service providers on a fee-for-service basis.
Garito, the mother of a four-year old with Autism worries about whether it’s enough. “The current plan doesn’t take into account the needs of a child,” she asserted. Her son is considered severe, and needs an estimated $68,000/ year for therapy.
Garito’s son will soon be five years old. She thinks they may not be eligible for the full $55,000/ year because of her income level. “I may only get a few thousand to help,” she said. The province has said they will clear the waitlist within 18 months.
In an email statement, Milton MPP Parm Gill’s office says they have been in contact since winning the June, 2018 election. “Our government is committed to fixing a program that left 75% of children with autism on a wait list, and with no funding at all.” `