Government Announces New Support For Mississauga Residents With Autism
After months of controversy over its mishandling of the Ontario Autism Program (OAP), the province recently announced residents with autism are getting some more resources.
On Wednesday (August 14), the provincial government announced plans to strengthen the oversight of behavioural clinicians who provide Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services to people with autism.
ABA is a type of therapy that primarily aims to support people with autism by helping them develop new life skills, communication skills and social skills.
Experts claim that the regulation of ABA clinicians will set standard expectations for quality therapy across the province. Consultations on how best to implement management will begin this fall.
“We are acting on the clear direction we’ve received from experts and families of children with autism,” said Todd Smith, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “Across Ontario, hundreds of men and women go to work every day to help children and youth. Our commitment is that behavioural clinicians will be regulated like other health professionals.”
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, will begin consultations with key stakeholders to seek feedback on the oversight framework.
The government claims that oversight and regulation of ABA clinicians will result in:
- Consistency in ethics and professional standards to promote a higher level of trust between families and practitioners.
- Clearly defined educational and ongoing quality assurance requirements for clinicians to improve consistency in treatment.
- A mechanism for families to report complaints about providers to reduce the risk of harm
Currently, if there are issues with services, clients and families have limited ways to make a complaint about a provider. At the moment, the majority of clinicians are not regulated, and there is no local governing body to handle complaints or discipline.
“Our government is building a modern, sustainable and connected service system that supports children and youth with autism and their families,” said Christine Elliott, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With the advice of key stakeholders, we are taking necessary steps to improve the care that families are receiving and ensure that they have continued confidence in their service providers.”
This year, the government is investing an additional $278 million in the province’s autism program, bringing the total amount of funding to $600 million annually.
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