Thursday, April 2, 2009

Autism Resolution Ontario

Today I attended another news conference. This time to announce new dynamic advocacy group. The new group is called Autism Resolution Ontario (ARO). I had luck to participate a little and witness great organizational and intellectual talents of core members of ARO. I have a lot of faith in its future. It also promises to be quite exiting experience.

After the conference we have met with staff members from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Minister Deb Matthews dropped in for few minutes to hear our concerns, and assure us that the ministry is working very hard and has done a lot of progress in helping autistic children. She said that they tripled the amount of money spent on autism. After she left the staff members told us that number of children receiving autism treatment tripled also from 400 to 1200.

On my way home I have made some thinking about of what I have heard and seen. So... if the number of children receiving therapy tripled and so did the funding. The waiting time for average child should stay the same, but it doubled from two to four years, in spite of children being discharged like Sebastian and Delanie after just few months of treatment. Where did the money go?

And I have another "simple math" thought. If our elected officials were personally responsible for outcome of their actions.... just the thought.... and there are 1600 children waiting on therapy in Ontario (conservatively)
and 50% of them could be saved from mental retardation* by timely and intensive treatment. They are loosing that opportunity thanks to government inactions or even worse; actions like benchmarking. Half of 1600 makes 800. Eight hundred lives that could be very productive, and other 800 lives that could be much happier more independent and less costly. And every individual has a family, and effects at least 4 more people lives directly, parents siblings grandparents.

So thousands of destroyed lives is going to be your legacy Minister Matthews, Mr McGunity... unless you will do something very brave now. Will you?

*yes I am using the harsh R word not to offend anyone but for impact value and because it is still used as scientific term. If you are not comfortable wit it read "mental handicap", "developmental delay" or "institutional dependency"

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