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Autism expert speaks out on Ontario changes

TORONTO — A doctor who led an expert report on autism that the Ontario government is using to justify a controversial treatment funding decision is speaking out, albeit cautiously.

Ian Dawe was the chair of an expert committee that made several recommendations to the government, including that early Intensive Behavioural Intervention be provided to kids between the ages of two and four.

The government has decided, as part of a new Ontario Autism Program, to defund IBI for kids five and over, instead transitioning them to “enhanced Applied Behavioural Analysis” treatment.

But parents whose children had waited for years on the IBI wait list, only to be removed after the new program was announced, are protesting the changes.

They point to tweets by Dawe — who is no longer the chair of the committee — saying there is “no evidence” a woman’s six-year-old son with autism “might not benefit” from IBI as proof the expert advice contradicts the government’s decision.


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