The Government of Ontario is letting down kids on the autism spectrum and their parents. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is at a loss as to how to fix this problem.
As has been reported widely, the Wynne government has cut intensive behavioural therapy (IBI) for children on the spectrum over the age of five years old. This has sparked the province-wide movement, #AutismDoesntEndAt5. The government contends that experts have informed them IBI is ineffective or less effective (depending on who is asked) for children over the aforementioned age. It should be noted the Chair of the government’s own panel has disputed this claim.
Very recent statements by the Premier have led many parents to believe there may be some room for movement of the government's position on the effectiveness of IBI for children over five years of age. But as this government continues to fight for a balanced budget and fiscal credibility I find that difficult to believe. After record contracts to teachers and other government employees the government had to find a place to cut. They decided that place was going to some of Ontario’s most vulnerable.
Making matters worse; the government sprung this decision on many stakeholders. Parents and school boards were blind sided. To date parents are doing everything in their power to lobby the government to alter their position. But the same cannot be said of school boards. As a memeber of this board's Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) my experience is with the TDSB. Given the public status of the committee I have no problem stating that we have received zero direction from the main board or the provincial government that would even allow us the advise either body. Moreover, when questions are asked of the Board, the response is consistently a wait and see approach. Unfortunately this will leave hundreds of children in Toronto going to school without obtaining needed IBI. How will the TDSB deal with the additional behavioural concerns? Sensory needs? Etc.?
Who is asking these questions? Are other candidates?
As the parent of a child on the autism spectrum I am asking the citizens of TDSB Ward 5 (York Centre) to give me an opportunity. Let me help all our children achieve educational excellence. On July 25th vote for Jordan Glass. Let me be your voice at the TDSB.