McGuinty Government Investing In More Services For Children And Youth With Autism



    Increasing The Number Of Children Receiving IBI, Providing Relief
    Services For Thousands Of Families

    TORONTO, Aug. 17 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is investing more than
$12 million this year to provide Intensive Behaviour Intervention treatment
for 210 more children and youth with autism, bringing the total number of
children receiving the specialized care to approximately 1,400 - a 160 per
cent increase since 2004, Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne
Chambers announced today.
    "Our government has been taking steps to increase the capacity of the
sector by training and recruiting more therapists for kids with autism," said
Chambers. "As a result of our capacity building efforts more children with
autism will have access to Intensive Behaviour Intervention therapy and more
families will have access to much needed respite services."
    With the government's policy of not discharging kids from the Intensive
Behaviour Intervention program on the basis of age, the resulting increased
demand is being addressed by building a continuum of service for children and
youth with autism and their families and by more than tripling annual support
since 2003-04 to more than $140 million in 2007-08.
    In addition to taking 210 children off IBI waitlists, the $12 million in
additional funding announced today will be used to hire more IBI therapists
and provide temporary relief services to more than 3,000 families across the
province.
    "I am very pleased that over 200 additional IBI spots have been funded
while children over age 6 continue to remain in this program," said Tammy
Starr, a parent of a child with autism. "I have confidence that Minister
Chambers and her ministry will ensure that families will be able to access
these services quickly and that children will be receiving high quality
treatment."
    "Autism Ontario is encouraged to see this additional investment in
support of children and families with autism. Respite services are so vitally
important for families dealing with the day to day challenges of autism and
Autism Ontario is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Government
and parents to further understand and deliver respite options that meet the
unique needs of families from communities across the province," said Deborah
Kitchen, President of Autism Ontario.
    "We have listened and learned from families, service providers and
specialists, that our efforts to provide supports and services for children
and youth with autism spectrum disorders need to consider the incredible
demands placed on families involved," said Chambers. "I have seen the enormous
benefits that our government's support for respite services, including summer
camps, provides for both parents and children alike."
    Other ways the government is working together with community partners to
support children and youth with autism include:

    
    -   No longer discharging children from the Autism Intervention Program
        on the basis of age and assessing all children referred to the
        program, regardless of age
    -   Creating the Ontario College Graduate Certificate Program in Autism
        and Behavioural Science and increasing the number of qualified
        professionals graduating from the program to at least 220 by 2008-09;
        the program is being expanded to include three more colleges,
        bringing the total number of colleges participating to 12 across the
        province, effective September 2007. More than 200 trained therapists
        have graduated from the program provincewide since 2006
    -   Hiring nearly 300 new therapists since 2004
    -   Reducing the number of children waiting for assessment for the Autism
        Intervention Program by 752 or 69 per cent since 2004
    -   Through the Geneva Centre for Autism, training up to 1,600 resource
        staff in the child care sector and child care workers and 5,000
        educational assistants who work with children with autism
    -   Providing nearly $6 million in further investments to support school
        boards in providing Applied Behaviour Analysis for students who need
        it beginning in the 2007-08 school year
    -   Investing $530,000 in summer 2007 to help send more than 800 children
        and youth with autism to supportive camp environments
    -   Providing $900,000 over three years to expand
        www.respiteservices.com, a centralized website operated by the Geneva
        Centre for Autism. Effective September 2007, the site will link 35
        communities across the province, providing information on relief
        services to families caring for an individual with a disability,
        including autism
    -   Providing approximately $1.5 million in funding to help Autism
        Ontario give more supports to families of children with autism. This
        funding includes support for the ABACUS website, which aims to serve
        as the best possible source of information so that parents,
        caregivers, and the general community can be informed consumers of
        Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) services for individuals with
        Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Ontario.

    "We have made significant progress over the past few years, and our
government will continue to strengthen services for kids with autism and their
families across the province," said Chambers.

    Disponible en français

                           www.children.gov.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

             BUILDING AND IMPROVING THE CONTINUUM OF SERVICES FOR
                   ONTARIO CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITH AUTISM

    -   Ontario children do not age out of autism services: In July 2005, the
        McGuinty government ended the policy of cutting kids off of Intensive
        Behavioural Intervention (IBI) services at age six.

    -   More children receiving service: 210 additional children to receive
        IBI in 2007-08, increasing the number receiving IBI to approximately
        1,400 - a 160 per cent increase since April 2004.

    -   More investments: Over $140 million in 2007-08-more than tripling the
        support for children with autism and their families since 2003-04.

    -   More therapists: Nearly 300 new therapists have been hired since 2004
        and the government has established an Ontario College Graduate
        Certificate Program in Autism and Behavioural Science - 101 graduates
        in 2006, another 102 in 2007; target enrolment in the program by
        2008-09 is a minimum of 220 students; in 2007-08, the program is
        being expanded to include three more colleges, bringing the total
        number of colleges participating to 12 across the province.

    -   Reduced waitlist for assessment: The number of children waiting for
        assessment has been reduced by approximately 69 per cent since 2004.

    -   More support in early years: The government is investing in training,
        provided through the Geneva Centre for Autism, for up to 1,600 staff
        in the child care sector who work with children with autism - a
        $6 million investment over three years.

    -   More support in our schools: The government is also making a further
        investment of nearly $6 million to assist school boards in
        incorporating methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into
        programs for students with ASD beginning in the 2007-08 school year,
        and investing $5 million over two years to train up to 5,000
        teachers' assistants who help students with autism.

    -   Investing in relief services for families: Offers families a
        temporary break while their children are in the care of experienced
        autism support providers to help provide relief services for more
        than 3,000 families.

    -   Investing in nine autism support camps: $530,000 in summer 2007 to
        help send more than 800 children and youth with autism to supportive
        camp environments.

    Disponible en français

                           www.children.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

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