Friday, July 07, 2006

Kids over 5 with Autism in Ontario lose again...

It's a sad, sad day for our friends in the autism community in Ontario. I felt sick at seeing the news when I checked online at 11 this morning. Let's pray that there is still hope that the Supreme Court of Canada gets involved somehow to overturn the decision or else all of our friends with kids over the age of 5 may be joining us in Calgary (that wouldn't be a bad thing for us)....

Ontario wins appeal on childhood autism therapy
Updated Fri. Jul. 7 2006 12:08 PM ET News Staff

Ontario taxpayers are off the hook when it comes to paying for the costly treatment of autistic children over the age of five, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Friday.

The decision -- worth tens of millions of dollars -- comes after a lower court ruled in favour of parents who are forced to bear the expense.

The lower court found the government's decision to cut off funding for autism therapy after the child turned six to be discriminatory and ordered it to pay.

The government appealed, and the Appeal Court agreed with the province, saying the aim of the age cut-off was to help the younger children more effectively.

The cost of the intensive one-on-one process, known either as applied behavioural analysis or intensive behavioural intervention ranges from $30,000 to $80,000 per year for each child.

It's estimated that about 8,000 children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with autism in the province.

Previously, Alberta was the only province in Canada to pay for autism treatment and therapy, prompting many Ontario familes to travel to Alberta to seek costly treatments.

With files from the Canadian Press

Be sure to watch CTV and Global News tonight. I know that our friend, Andrew Kavchuck was interviewed by CBC Radio in Ottawa, as was Nancy Morisson by Global. MPP Shelley Martel is holding a press conference to discuss the ruling at 2pm today at Queen's Park.

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