VICTORIA, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - On January 31, 2011, parents of children with
autism will mark a sad anniversary. January 31, 2010 was the last day
of the government's Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI)
programs for children with autism in BC. Prior to Minister Polak's
decision to cut this successful program, 70 children in BC were
receiving life transforming therapy each year. Today, the program is
gone. Neither science, amazing results in children's lives, pleas from
parents, months of protests, or tax savings from such programs in other
jurisdictions changed government's mind.
Last year, parents stood in the cold and rain on the steps of the B.C.
Legislature holding a candlelight vigil. They were joined by family and
friends. They stood alongside MLAs who had worked hard to keep the
program alive. They spoke quietly with dedicated therapists who had
done so much for their children, who were now without jobs. Anyone with
11 minutes to spare can view that vigil. Parents' emotional statements
on the impact this program had on the lives of their children are past
the half way mark - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8qpVsma5o
Today, parent Hollie Davis says, "We are extremely fortunate our
therapist stayed in this line of work. Our son has continued to make
progress through our therapist's amazing efforts, but they are fighting
an uphill battle. Therapy must be done at home rather than at his old
center. Our son has lost the benefit of socializing with his peers.
Autism is a social disorder, and this is a real loss. We are really
seeing this now that he has entered school."
Chris McIntosh, an adult with Asperger's Syndrome, said, "Arts programs
have had $7 million dollars of funding restored under a new
Minister. This is good news. The arts are a critical part of a healthy
society. Liberal leadership candidates say slashing gaming grants to
thousands of charities and non-profit groups must be reversed. This is
extremely heartening to hear. Charities leverage scarce dollars to
provide valuable services far beyond the ability to buy these services
in any other manner. But when will it be the turn of children with
autism? When will a specific commitment be made to them?"
Maurine Karagianis, NDP Critic for Children and Family Development and
Child Care, stated, "Despite the MCFD Minister's assurances last year,
services for children with autism are still inadequate. Parents are
left waiting so long for funding it is threatening their ability to
hire therapists, and there are six to nine month wait lists for initial
evaluations. By all counts this government is failing families and
children with autism."
Parent Cher Sherwood recalls, "Having two children on the spectrum, it
was devastating when the EIBI program was cut. I saw the life-giving
changes in my 5 year old son, and what my younger son would go without.
I saw what children on the waiting list would never get, and what
children new to this program had ripped from them."
Marriages have broken up over the last year. Children have been asked
not to attend preschool where they were doing well. FAIR is saddened
that future children will not get the benefits of early intensive
therapy. This will lessen their chances of successfully transitioning
into elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, and into the job
market. Divorce, joblessness and suicide rates are much higher among
those on the autism spectrum. Early intensive therapy increases the
chances of those on the spectrum living meaningful and productive lives
SOURCE Fighting Autism Intervention Reductions (FAIR)
For further information:
and to find out how you can help:
|Chris McIntosh ||Cell: 250-588-3061, E-Mail:email@example.com|
|Hollie Davis ||Cell: 250-882-6450|