McGuinty Liberals have kept and exceeded autism commitment

    Next step to prepare schools for on-site IBI therapy

    TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - While the negative campaigning of the
opposition parties continues, the McGuinty Liberals are moving forward to
build supports for parents and children with autism.
    "Playing political games with these parents and children is disgraceful,"
said Liberal Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers. "It's
time for some honesty in this discussion. We know the challenges families with
autistic children face, and there's more to do together to build a support
    "Dalton McGuinty has been there to support children with autism from day
one. He kept his commitment and went beyond it," said Chambers. "There is more
to do and we will keep working together toward better services for these
    This year more than 1,400 autistic children will receive IBI therapy, up
from 530 under the Conservatives, and 0 under the NDP. The average annual
total cost per child for IBI therapy is $70,000.

    The 2003 Commitment:

    "The Ontario Liberals support extending autism treatment beyond the age
of six. In government, my team and I will work with clinical directors,
parents, teachers and school boards to devise a feasible way in which autistic
children in our province can get the support and treatment they need. That
includes children over the age of six."

    What was delivered:

    -   Extended autism treatment beyond the age of six, cancelling the
        Conservative age cut off
    -   Tripled investments in autism to over $140 million
    -   More than doubled the number of children receiving IBI therapy,
        including kids over age 6
    -   Created a new college program to train more IBI therapists
    -   Invested in summer camps for autistic children
    -   Invested in respite services for parents of autistic children
    -   Invested in training child care workers and education assistants
    -   Directed school boards to prepare schools to deliver IBI therapy

    The lawsuit:

    On November 24, 1999, a group of families with autistic children filed a
lawsuit against the Conservative government. One of the parents said: "The
government is just trying to save money by excluding older children. We aren't
going to accept that our children's health would be compromised in this way."
    The suit finally went to court in April 2003, still under the
Conservative government. It was one more mess the Conservatives left behind to
be cleaned up.
    The lawsuit was about legal jurisdiction. It never got in the way our
efforts to expand services for these kids.

For further information:

For further information: Ben Chin, (416) 961-3800 ext. 412,

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