Children with autism left waiting as Liberals stall on autism strategy
October 26, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – As hundreds of parents, educators, children and caregivers rallied outside the legislature to call for better access to autism services, NDP MPPs demanded in question period Thursday morning that the Wynne Liberals expedite the creation of a comprehensive autism strategy.
“Parents of children with autism and developmental disabilities are here once again to fight for the services that their children desperately need,” said NDP Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities critic Monique Taylor.
“When the government announced their new autism program, they knew it would put added pressure onto our school system, a system already struggling to cope with decades of chronic underfunding and cuts begun by the Conservatives and continued through 14 years of Liberal governments, particularly to special education. But nothing has been done to prepare for that, and children with autism, yet again, are paying the price.”
While nearly a year has passed since Wynne promised to act, “this Liberal government has failed to deliver on its promise to create an education accessibility standard and has failed to provide the special education resources needed by students with autism,” said NDP Education critic Peggy Sattler.
“The chronic underfunding of special education that was started by the Conservatives has continued under the Liberals,” continued Sattler.
“Instead of increasing special education funding to actually meet the needs of students, this Liberal government has cut special education budgets even more, leading to an ongoing shortage of EAs, developmental service workers and other specialized staff in schools.”
Each MPP called on the government to act.
“Will the government commit to a comprehensive autism strategy that ensures children with autism get the services they need in an inclusive classroom setting?” asked Taylor.
“Will the premier move forward immediately to develop an education accessibility standard, and will she commit to an inclusive autism strategy in schools that addresses the educational, as well as therapeutic, needs of students with autism?” asked Sattler.