When it comes to treatments for autism, which affects one out of every 68 kids, the Ontario government seems to mean well. It is investing $333 million in services over the next five years to reduce the waiting time for intensive autism treatment for children down to six months by 2021 from the current two to four years.
That’s a smart move because the treatment, which helps kids learn to communicate, socialize and relate to others, works best when children are aged 2 to 4. Currently the average age of children when they finally get off the waiting list and into treatment is 6.
In fact, as part of the new program the government is rolling out four new early interventions aimed at children as young as 12 months.
So far, so good.
But how the Wynne government is going about reducing the wait-list time is all wrong. It’s cutting 2,200 children who are 5 or older from the list, and taking another 1,378 kids in that age group out of treatment.