Growing concerns from a dedicated parent within our community have led to some unfortunate information coming to light.
As many may remember, a few months ago our friends at the Ontario Autism Coalition initiated a petition to have Dr. James Porter added to the Ontario Autism Program Advisory Committee. For many week parents worked endlessly with phone blitz’ to the MCYS, constant “tweeting”, e-mails, and collecting signatures in hopes that the Government would allow Dr. Porter a seat within the committee. To the dismay of many, this was not allowed. With the OAC having only been allotted one seat on the committee, it was said that there were no other option than for Bruce McIntosh, OAC President, to take that seat. Documents released earlier today indicate that was false.
You can see below in an e-mail discussion between Ministry staff dated in early June, obtained by a concerned parent, that the OAC had ample time and opportunity to appoint any one person to represent the community on the advisory committee.
It is unclear how it was decided that the seat be occupied by an unelected representative, and why the OAC would direct the community to petition in early August for Dr. Porter to take the vacancy, when the representative had already been chosen, but we are utterly disappointed to have found this out.
Considering this revelation along with the difficulties we continue to face – including a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as seen below, which the forementioned community representative willingly signed (while NDA’s are already an issue on the Expert Committee) – regarding a matter and during a time where transparency should be essential, much speculation and distrust is stirring about…
to be continued?
We NEED all of you parents to join us in sending a brief email to the Minister’s Policy Advisor on the autism file, Michael Nicin. You may CC Premier Wynne & Minister Coteau as well if you wish.
Write: WE ARE STILL IN CRISIS , in the subject line. The email should contain your concerns about the issues families are STILL facing regarding age cut offs, reductions in service, lack of communication between regionals & families, funding inequalities etc., the OAP is set to kick off in JUNE and we are currently on a dark road with no light in sight.
You need to tell them:
1. EXACTLY what the “solution” offered this past June actually accomplished. Key notes to remember: the “solution” is nothing but a short-term solution only available to those kicked off of the wait list in May. The Government has not even been vigilant in ensuring all families eligible for the funding have been informed about it, nevermind ensuring ALL children with autism receive the help they need. Many families are STILL receiving reductions in service hours, or have just received a diagnoses and can do nothing but wait for the unknown; families who had been denied the IBI their child desperately needed were left to continue waiting with no help at all; the Expert and Implementation committees are still under NDA’s which eliminates any possible element of true transparency. This is UNACCEPTABLE.
2. EXACTLY what this means for your child(ren)/Family. Explain the added stress of having no valuable insight into what the future holds for your child in terms of the available services in the OAP; if you have been short-handed by both the AIP and March and June announcements; how your family has been effected by the ever-growing list of cuts to special education programs and the school boards, etc. while receiving improper or insufficient support from the AIP, etc.
3. You need to explain WHY IT STILL IS A CRISIS – b/c the launch of the OAP appears to still be targeting the most vulnerable kids, both presently and in the years to come – yours included – as the ones that will bear the brunt of the “transition”, & it will continue to appear this way until the doors of communication between the Government and the public open up completely, the NDA’s are REMOVED to prove to families that this IS INDEED about helping ALL children with ASD, and community input is indeed sought out during the process of developing the OAP. There is NO reason for lack of full disclosure or avoiding communication with parents directly if there is nothing to hide.
Let’s get these emails sent out ASAP!!
Thank you, Everyone!
Below you will find attached an exercise developed for the OAP Advisory Committee, to open a discussion on the desired Outcomes and Guiding Principles for the new Ontario Autism Program.
As we all know, it has been nearly 4 months since Minister Coteau announced what were to be positive changes to the implementation of the OAP. Since then, the Advisory Committee has met only once, on September 12 (view meeting summary here). Over one month later, and we have acquired this exercise which committee members have been provided in order to gain and provide input in the upcoming meeting on October 28th. Unfortunately, our friends at the OAC have yet to share this exercise with the community, so we have decided to do so ourselves.
If you would like your input to be forwarded to the ministry, please e-mail your responses to the exercise questions to firstname.lastname@example.org , and they will be forwarded to the Ministry.
Thank you all! Keep up the good fight.
Hey Everyone, we’ve still got work to do.
Big blunt reminder: We are not the OAC.
While I commend the OAC for wanting to improve services for all persons with autism, and thank them for joining us in the battle since March, the Alliance formed with a more specific goal – to remove the age 5 cut off for intensive therapy and ensure ALL children with autism have access to the clinically recommended help that they need, in a timely manner. By not having this as a priority, children are continuing to age out of services, be put on lengthy wait lists, age out of the ideal developmental window without any support at all, etc. These will be the kids in school, these will be the adults with autism. This can’t wait.
We need to mobilize. We need to remind Coteau and Wynne that we are a community that stands together; that their hand-picked, muzzled committee is not representative of this community as a whole & we are not blind to what it is meant to disguise.
Are you all ready to go hard again? We need to do this.
Our team member, Anne Jovanovic, has added her name to the Ontario Autism Coalition’s executive team as their Policy Advisor and their Alliance Liaison. This allows the Alliance to have a seat in the room with decision-makers and ensures that we can leverage the power of both our groups to make sure that both the new OAP and the related services our kids access reflect the science of ABA and the needs our kids have. Anne is continuing to work with the Alliance coordinators here in Ottawa on future ABA Boot Camps and other advocacy training and parent-led initiatives. As for now, her name will be at the bottom of the OAC letter asking the Minister to a) stop muzzling the people who know this file best (including us) and b) apologize publicly for the blatant hoodwink that took place this summer. It’s gloves off – again – peeps. Let’s get ready to rumble…
Today the Ministry of Children and Youth Services released the Guidelines for Additional Direct Funding or Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). These guidelines apply to children who were previously eligible for the one-time $8,000 payment, and can be read at the following link.
Join the discussions in our Facebook group, here.