McGuinty government expands supports for children and youth with autism

Archived Release

McGuinty government expands supports for children and youth with autism

TORONTO, March 26 - The McGuinty government is improving the quality of life for children and youth with autism by expanding supports from their early years right through their school years, Children and Youth Services Minister Dr. Marie Bountrogianni announced today. "Our government is committed to helping children and youth with autism and their families. They deserve opportunities for future success," said Bountrogianni. "By helping our children and youth succeed today, we can ensure Ontario succeeds tomorrow." "The government's plan will strengthen direct services to children and youth from pre-school age through high school, provide more resources for parents and invest in autism research and training so that Ontario has more professionals with leading-edge knowledge to help our children," said Bountrogianni. The plan will: - Increase the number of pre-school children who receive assessments and services - Enhance knowledge and skills of educators to support children and youth with autism in the classroom - Strengthen support for parents as they care for their children with autism - Provide for long-term sustainability of these services through investments in knowledge and infrastructure. Minister Bountrogianni is establishing a working group to guide implementation of the supports to teachers, educational assistants, parents and children with autism. "By providing a range of supports and resources, this plan enables parents and professionals to tailor a specific approach to the unique needs of each child," said Bountrogianni. "With support in the early years and throughout the school years, children and youth with autism can gain essential skills that help them reach their potential." ------------------------------------------------------------------------- BACKGROUNDER ------------------------------------------------------------------------- McGUNITY GOVERNMENT EXPANDS SUPPORTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITH AUTISM The McGuinty government is supporting children and youth with autism from their early years through their school years. The government's plan is designed to bring positive change to children and youth with autism and their families in four ways: 1. Increase the number of pre-school children who receive assessments and services. - More trained therapists -The government is providing funding to Behavioural Science Technology (BST) programs at George Brown College in Toronto and St. Lawrence College in Eastern Ontario to increase the number of trained behavioural therapists. This will mean an additional 60 new students could enter these programs this year, and would graduate and be employable in the Intensive Early Intervention Program (IEIP) by 2005/06. - The government will also support the development of a College Graduate Certificate Program in Autism and Behavioural Science to provide up to 180 students each year with more specialized and targeted training, including training in Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy. - Retain trained therapists and psychologists - The government's Grant Assistance Program will build and maintain capacity in the IEIP through a staff-incentive and bursary program. At the end of each year of up to three years of service in IEIP, the ministry will reimburse tuition for clinical directors, senior therapists and instructor therapists. - Target funding - The ministry will target funding to more psychologists and therapists to provide assessment and services to pre-school-age children with autism. 2. Support school-aged children and youth with autism as they learn in schools. - Support a smoother transition to school - Transition coordinators will support children being discharged from the IEIP by working with families, therapists, and educators to identify language, behavioural, social and academic needs for successful transition to publicly funded schools. - Enhance educators' knowledge and skills - A working group will provide guidance in the development and implementation of new supports for educators who work with children and youth with autism. 3. Provide information and tools to support parents as they care for their children with autism. - Support parents - To help them manage their children's individual needs, parents will have access to a wide range of resource materials and professionals that can help guide them through the stages of their child's development. - A new registry of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) service providers will enable parents to identify available service providers for their children. 4. Invest in knowledge and infrastructure to provide for long-term sustainability of these services - Invest in understanding autism - The government will invest in graduate-level university education through the creation of an Academic Chair and up to five Graduate Fellowships focusing specifically on autism and child developmental psychology. This will help Ontario to generate and sustain a critical mass of research dedicated to increasing our knowledge about autism. - Evaluate our investments - The government will build ongoing evaluation into its program so that decisions about programs and services are based on the best-available scientific information. Evaluating on an ongoing basis will help ensure that the money we spend delivers positive results for children and youth with autism. Glossary ABA: Applied Behavioural Analysis IBI: Intensive Behavioural Intervention IEIP: Intensive Early Intervention Program Disponible en fran├žais For more information, visit www.children.gov.on.caFor further information: Contact: Andrew Weir, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7159; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156