MPP Peggy Sattler: I rise today on behalf of London West families of children with autism.
After four and a half years on the wait-list, Sarah Farrants felt hopeful when her seven-year-old son Mason was invited to register for the OAP in October, but she has heard absolutely nothing since. While she waits, the one-time funding that paid for Mason’s speech therapy has run out, and so has Sarah’s hope for Mason’s future.
After a 10-month wait for an assessment for his three-year-old son Luke, Sean Menard was told he could wait years for OAP funding. Sean wants a plan from this government to clear the backlog and get Luke the critical early intervention he needs. Sean desperately wants Luke to speak one day. Sean said, “Without help from the government, he may never speak a single word to his mother or me.”
Even for families who have been approved, the autism program is broken. Virginia Ridley’s two teenage sons receive OAP funding, but Virginia struggles to find services geared to youth and faces constant delays getting reimbursed. At the end of February, she was out of pocket $9,000.
With no mention of autism in the 2023 budget, these families feel abandoned by the Ford government.
Where is the plan, where is the urgency to fix the OAP and get Mason and Luke and Virginia’s sons the services they need and deserve?