NEWS RELEASE · 15th September 2010
September 16th marks the one year anniversary of the controversial decision by Mary Polak, the Minister for Children and Family Development, to cut funding for early intensive therapy (EIBI) for children with autism.
One year later, parents with children who were in the EIBI program are speaking out about how this cut has impacted their children.
“We've been in touch with a lot of our families in Victoria and there has been regression of all the kids no matter where they were at on the spectrum” said parent Nicole Strong. “Anywhere from children who were just beginning to speak no longer speaking, toileting regression, and children entering kindergarten no longer toileted … they're going in pull-ups. There are major behavior problems with our kids to the point where preschools and daycares are asking us not to bring them because they don't have the supports available to help them.”
Early intensive therapy for children with autism has decades of proven research behind it. The decision to cut this therapy is causing great harm and will not save money. On average it costs $3.2 million per child on the spectrum in services over our lifetime. These costs are reduced by 65% with early intensive therapy.
“Based on US experience, it would cost an extra $15 million to fully fund intensive therapy for all children 0-6 with autism in BC using any Established Therapy in the National Standards Report” said Chris McIntosh, an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome. “Our government believes we taxpayers can afford to give $2 billion to large corporations through the HST. They cannot claim we cannot afford to support children with special needs. The Liberal government promised to build the best system of supports in Canada for children with special needs and children at risk. We believe Premier Campbell will honor his promise and fund this therapy.
Parent Hollie Davis said “What the government has done is bring us all down to the lowest common denominator as opposed to bring us all up to what would be adequate funding for the children. When we had intensive therapy, that was adequate … for 70 families. What about the other 800 families? That should be given to all of those families so that these children can take advantage of the therapies science says is necessary.”
“Our governments should not be spending as little as they think they can get away with on people, particularly children with disabilities. They should be spending the money that gets results, and that makes a difference for the rest of their lives”, said parent Catherine Clark-Turnquist.
Fighting Autism Intervention Reductions (FAIR)