As my regular readers will know, my grandson, Brandon is on the autistic spectrum. He wasn't diagnosed until he was six years old and that is the age when the Ontario government cuts off all funding for autistic children.
Something in the news today made me madder than a mad hatter. Five year old Adam Mels has severe autism. He is not potty trained and his motor skills, both gross and fine are extremely delayed. However, the Ontario government denied Adam eligibility to Intensive Behavior Intervention, (IBI) which is a program funded by the government. IBI aids children in learning skills by using repetition in a one-on-one setting.
Adams father, David, has appealed the decision that was made by a panel of doctors, clinical directors and psychologists at the Hamilton Niagara Regional Autism Intervention Program. These professionals state that Adam's autism is too severe for him to benefit from the therapy.
What is making David Mels upset is that he and his family have not been given a reason why Adam is ineligible. He wants answers that are clinical and objective, not just someone saying that his child is incapable of learning.
The Autism Intervention Program Guidelines states that the program and services are for children with autistic disorder considered to be more towards the severe end of the autism spectrum. This means that Adam should be eligible.
Why is Adam not eligible if he fits the criteria. There has been no attempt made to teach this child and now the professionals at IBI are saying he cannot learn. How can they know this if they have not taken him into the program and allowed him to take part in the therapy. Why does one child get funding while the next does not? Because eligibility criteria is not objectively stated. Parents don't know or ever find out why their children are not accepted into the program.
David Mels has tried to get his son help at privately operated clinics, but cannot afford the fees. Is it not up to the Ontario government and programs such as IBI to take care and help to teach our disabled children?
My heart aches for Adam and his parents. I know what it's like to advocate for a child with autism and keep running into one brick wall after another. Our children are our future and we need to start caring for each and every one of them - yes, even those with autism.
Programs such as IBI need to be accountable for the decisions they make because children like Adam are falling through the cracks. If you are Canadian, please write to our Premier and voice your opinion. Let the provincial government know that this is not acceptable.
To see a photo of Adam and his family, please click HERE. Does this adorable boy not deserve help from IBI?
And now off my soapbox and wishing you all a safe and enjoyable weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~