The province had changed the autism funding policy, so that money is now transferred directly to parents rather than going to fund programs. The funds were to be provided to those on the waiting list as well as those now in programs, but people in programs would be able to continue their current treatment plans. Originally, the amounts provided were to be allocated according to the age of the child, not according to the cost of the programs that they need, with $20,000 a year for children under 6, up to a maximum of $140,000, and $5,000 a year after that up to age 18 to a maximum of $55,000. Unfortunately, intensive therapy can cost as much as $80,000 per year. There was also an income limit so families who earned over $250,000 could not access the program.
Extensive input from Autism groups has persuaded the government to rethink key parts of the policy. There will be no income testing for access to services. Children with more complex needs will get more support in a process that will be decided by consultation. That province will also increase funding up to double the current amount. Input from nonprofit groups played key role in this change.
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