Mississauga Council Wants the Province to Reinstates Autism Help

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Although the controversial changes the province is planning to make to its autism program will affect autistic children and their families throughout Ontario, Mississauga has been a focal point in the heated debate.

A few days ago, Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney was ordered to apologize to a woman after sending Peel police to her door to address her planned protest. Before that, concerned parents protested outside of MPP Charles Sousa's office.

Now, the Mississauga News is reporting that city council is asking the province to reinstate IBI therapy to autistic children over the age of five.

According to The News, a passionate plea from Josie Chaves, the mother of a four-year-old autistic child, persuaded council members to weigh in on the province's controversial plan to end government-funded access to IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention) treatment for children over five.

The News reports that Chaves' son Adam has been on the wait list for IBI for close to three years. With the new policies in place, Adam will no longer have access to the treatment his family was hoping he'd receive.

The province has plans to place older children in an Applied Behaviour Analysis program instead of IBI. The new program, which will be available in 2018, is different. Children will be treated in a group setting for one to 12 hours a week. IBI treatment involves one-on-one interactions and 25-45 hours of therapy a week.

"It's just plain stupid to cut a program and have nothing to replace it with," said Coun. Pat Saito, as reported by The News. "That's a slap in the face."

Councillor Ron Starr also shared his disapproval.

"I'm appalled this government can waste billions of dollars every month...yet they won't spend it on our own children," said Coun. Ron Starr, as reported by The News.

While parents can still enroll older children in IBI treatment, they will have to pay more for it. The Ontario government is offering affected families $8,000 to ease the transition, but some parents are concerned that won't cover enough sessions.

Council voted unanimously to ask the province to reconsider its decision.

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