Ernie Eves government makes landmark investment for children with autism

Archived Release

Ernie Eves government makes landmark investment for children with autism

Ministry of Community and Social Services

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 18 /CNW/ - The Ontario government is investing an additional $58.6 million for services for children with autism, bringing the total commitment to almost $100 million by 2006/07, Brenda Elliott, Ontario's Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services, announced today.
"Research tells us that Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) works best when provided to children at a young age," said Minister Elliott. "Ontario is a leader in autism services for children and we continue to demonstrate this by more than doubling our investment in this service for young children so that they can get the help they need."
Ontario's unprecedented commitment to providing IBI to young children with autism dates back to the 1999 Ontario Budget. In May 2001, the Ontario government doubled its commitment to $39.3 million, as part of the Ontario Early Years Plan. Today's additional funding includes enhancements of $39.6 million, bringing commitments for IBI to over $78 million by 2006/07.
"We also recognize that families and children need help over the long term," Minister Elliott said. "We will invest $19 million in new programs and services for older children with autism so that they can grow and learn in their transition to school."
The government's new investments in IBI and new programs and services bring its commitment to helping children with autism and their families to almost $100 million.
"We are so pleased that the Ontario government has yet again increased funding for autism services," said Linda Rothney, President and CEO of Erinoak, one of the nine service providers delivering IBI therapy in Ontario. "The additional money is welcome news. It means we can assist even more children with autism and their families."
New programs and services for older children include transition coordinators who will help families with the transition to alternative programs. Elementary school-age children will also have new out-of-class programs available to them that are focussed on developing and improving social interaction, behaviour and communication. Additionally, the Ministry of Education will pilot its Autism Program Standards in the 2003/04 school year and will host forums to help teachers learn about new approaches being used to educate children with autism.
The Ernie Eves government continues to be committed to children with autism through new and expanded services that will improve their lives and help parents raise their children with hope and dignity.

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November 18, 2002

INTENSIVE EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

The Ernie Eves government cares about the needs of children with autism and respects the challenges their families face. Ontario continues to be the national leader in providing Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) services. That is why we are once again doubling our investment to more than $78 million in 2006/07 so that eligible young children can receive the help they need.
The 1999 Ontario Budget announced $5 million growing to $19.3 million annually in 2001/02. In May 2001, through Ontario's Early Years Plan, the annual funding increased to $39.3 million.
Through the Intensive Early Intervention Program, eligible children receive IBI services. Ontario developed the Intensive Early Intervention Program based on research that indicated that very young children receive the greatest benefit from IBI services, which is why these services are provided for children between the ages of two and five.
Currently, more than 550 children and their families benefit from existing services. By increasing funding, an additional 610 children will be able to get the support they need by 2006/07.
New funding means the following services through the Intensive Early Intervention Program will be expanded:

- Individual services plans and assessments for each child;
- Intensive behavioural intervention services for children between the
ages of two and five years;
- Recruitment of additional staff for regional service providers;
- Training for professionals in early identification, diagnosis,
assessment and behavioural intervention;
- Training for parents so they can support their child's treatment at
home; and
- Evaluation that will ensure the program is effective.

To complement this investment, the Ontario government is launching a significant recruitment strategy to hire and retain IBI professionals to work in Ontario. The government is also working with Ontario colleges and universities to develop curricula to train IBI professionals.
Currently, nine regional service providers across the province deliver Intensive Early Intervention Programs for Children with Autism. Government program guidelines direct program delivery for regional providers.
Children with autism may also benefit from a range of other services available in communities across the province. To support these families, the Ontario government provided funding in 2002/03 for a broad range of services for children with special needs including:

- $29.4 million for respite services
- $42 million for Special Services at Home
- $53 million for Assistance with Severe Disabilities
- $38.7 million for special needs support for child care; and
- more than $370 million for children's mental health; including
$42.5 million for the Intensive Early Intervention Program for
Children with Autism.

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November 18, 2002

ENHANCED SERVICES FOR OLDER CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

The Ernie Eves government recognizes that families of children with autism need support over the long term. That is why we are introducing new programs and services for older children with autism so they can grow and learn.
We are investing $3 million to help support families and their children with autism as the children enter into school or other community services. Transition coordinators will work with families to help support the child's school experience and to help them connect with community services to meet their child's changing needs.
The Ernie Eves government is also committing $16 million for an out-of- class program for elementary school-age children with autism. The Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services will fund programs that will take place in schools or other community locations and will provide children with an opportunity to spend time with their peers supported by trained professionals. Children will spend time developing and improving their social interaction, behaviour and communication skills.
When a student is identified as having special needs such as autism, the school principal ensures that an Individual Education Plan (IEP) program is designed for that student based on an individualized assessment of the student's learning needs.
Through each student's Individual Education Plan, school boards provide opportunities for students with autism to develop skills that will prepare them to be productive members of the community. A special education program for a student with autism may include one or more of: speech language activities, structured learning activities, social skills training, or one-on- one coaching. The classroom environment may be structured so the program is consistent and predictable.
Autism is one of 12 categories of exceptionality defined by the Ministry of Education. To ensure effective education programs for students with autism, the Ministry of Education has consulted with the Autism Society of Ontario and other education partners regarding the development of program standards for autism. These program standards will be pilot tested in the 2003/04 school year. The Ministry will also host forums to help teachers and school board staff learn about effective approaches for teaching children with autism. In addition, the Ministry will continue to work with school boards and other partners to improve coordination of services for children with special needs, including the services that support children in their transition from pre- school into the school system.
Children with autism may also benefit from a range of other services available in communities across the province. To support these families, the Ontario government provided funding in 2002/03 for a broad range of services for children with special needs including:

- $29.4 million for respite services
- $42 million for Special Services at Home
- $53 million for Assistance with Severe Disabilities
- $38.7 million for special needs support for child care; and
- more than $370 million for children's mental health; including
$42.5 million for the Intensive Early Intervention Program for
Children with Autism.

Disponible en fran├žais

For more information visit http://www.gov.on.ca/CSS
For further information: Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services, (416) 325-5156; Christine Bujold, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5219