Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ombudsman Update

I received that email from long time autism advocate and parent of autistic child Taline.

"Dysfunctional systems are often maintained through systematic denial, failure or inability to see the reality of a situation. This denial need not be conscious, intentional or malicious; it only needs to be pervasive to be effective."

I spoke with the investigator at the ombudsman's office this afternoon. Their response to my concerns regarding the ministry's monitoring of PPM 140, the ministry's responsibility in the provision of IBI and education together through existing opportunities (eg: Provincial Demonstration Schools, Alternative Schools, Section 23 Programs and PPM 81) and the inconsistency between schools in accepting children with autism to attend public school programs with direct support of IBI/ABA instructor therapists (both in regular classrooms and separate classrooms), is nothing short of a complete disappointment. I have asked that they send me their response summarized in a letter and I hope to receive it soon. In the meantime, this is the information they shared with me:

1) Re: the monitoring of PPM 140 (ABA in the schools) - The ministry will not be soliciting feedback from families but rather only from the boards. The boards are welcome to take parent feedback but this won't be mandatory. The ministry will only be analyzing feedback from the boards. I doubt that detailed data will be part of the feedback. The ombudsman's office will continue to monitor the ministry's monitoring of PPM 140 but feel that the concerns at this time are to do with training and educating staff and that this is a budgetary issue which their office can't interfere with. It's not impossible to foresee that the ministry will at some point rely on the "limited resources" argument when cornered on the lack of appropriate ABA training in the schools. Autism Ontario was consulting at some level to a new survey the ministry was preparing for parents to complete but I have not heard anything more about this.

2) Re: the IBI/ABA instructor therapists allowed in some schools and not others - I was told to ask for clarification of the "space" wording from the ministry myself. The ombudsman's office did not seem troubled by the fact that the school board thinks they are fulfilling their obligation to educate my son and others by sending them to the local library or community centre.

3) Re: my question about the ministry's ability to deliver education and IBI together through existing systems (eg: Provincial Demonstration Schools, etc.) - No response on this. I assume they can't do anything about this either.

I can say with full confidence that the ombudsman chapter is now officially closed in the Ontario Autism Crisis trilogy.



  1. The Obudsman is just some rubbish organisation created to pass the buck. Or you can say yet another wall (diguising as a window) between you and those who decide your fate.

  2. I had a similar conversation with someone from the Office of the Ombudsman last week. It is pretty clear they do not really want to be involved.