Friday, July 07, 2006

Seems Like Spin Control to me...

Here is what Queen's Park announced right before Shelley Martel held her own Press Conference at 2pm today. Do you think the McGuinty Govt are trying to convince us parents that we have nothing to worry about in Ontario???


Attention News Editors:

McGuinty Government Committed to Helping Children and Youth with Autism
QUEEN'S PARK, ON, July 7 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is committed to
providing services to children and youth with autism regardless of age,
Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers and Minister of
Education Sandra Pupatello announced today.
"More children have access to more services than ever before, and that
will continue regardless of age," Chambers said. "The McGuinty government is
building and improving the continuum of services for Ontario children and
youth with autism from the time they are diagnosed right through their school
years to help meet their changing needs."
Since taking office in October 2003, the McGuinty government has more
than doubled its investment in services for children and youth with autism and
their families, to more than $112 million annually.
The province has increased the number of trained therapists and enhanced
support in schools for children with autism. In July 2005, the Ministry of
Children and Youth Services directed regional autism service providers to
assess all children referred to the autism intervention program in a
consistent manner, and that no child should be discharged based on age. Today,
Chambers confirmed that services remain in place for all children with autism
regardless of age to help meet their needs.
"Ontario children do not age out of autism services," said Chambers. "We
believe looking after our most vulnerable children and youth is an important
investment to make on behalf of Ontario families. That's why we are developing
a system that offers children and youth with autism and their families greater
integration of services, best practices and the best trained individuals."
As a result of new investments, the number of children receiving IBI will
have increased by 70 per cent since April 2004, and the number of children
waiting for assessments has been reduced by 68 per cent.
"The government will continue working with our partners, including
parents and educators, to look for new ways to strengthen and improve the
services and supports available for students with special education needs,
including those with autism," said Pupatello.
Pupatello recently announced a new approach to special education to
support better outcomes for students with special education needs. The
government also announced a $50 million investment to reduce waiting times for
student assessments and to enhance professional development for school board
The McGuinty government's plan for children with special needs also

<< - A $33 million increased investment in the Special Education Grant for 2006-07, bringing the total increase in the grant to $309 million since coming to office - Hiring more than 110 new Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapists since 2003-04 - Increasing the pool of qualified autism professionals through the creation of an Ontario College Graduate Certificate Program in Autism and Behavioural Science - Investing in training for teachers' assistants and early childhood educators to learn how to better support children with autism. Disponible en fran├žais Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- BUILDING AND IMPROVING THE CONTINUUM OF SERVICES FOR ONTARIO CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITH AUTISM The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is committed to providing a continuum of services to support children and youth with autism. The province's investment in autism services is now more than $112 million annually. INVESTING IN SERVICES Since taking office, the McGuinty government has: - More than doubled spending on services for children and youth with autism - Added more than 110 new therapists, increasing the number of children receiving Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) to 795 as of March 2006 - Invested an additional $13.1 million this year to deliver IBI to an estimated 120 more children and provide additional supports to children and youth with autism and their families. It will also fund services for youth with autism who will be provided a better chance to make a successful transition to adolescence, through increased behavioural supports, crisis intervention, and skills-based training through special-needs service agencies. - Provided $1 million to help Autism Society Ontario (ASO) provide more supports to families of children and youth with ASD, including parent support networks, training, resource materials and access to consultation with ASD specialists - Provided $2 million in each of the next three years to provide training, through the Geneva Centre for Autism, for up to 1,600 child care workers and early childhood educators who work with children with ASD - Invested $10 million more annually to Ontario's children's treatment centres to provide services to approximately 4,800 more children and youth with complex special needs, including autism - Through the Ministry of Education, providing $5 million over two years to the Geneva Centre for Autism to provide training for teachers' assistants who work with students with ASD. In 2004-05, school boards across the province identified approximately 7,000 students with ASD PROVIDING A CONTINUUM OF SERVICES The range of services in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services' autism intervention program includes: - Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI), which is a structured approach to breaking down the barriers that isolate children with autism from the world around them. IBI professionals work with children with autism - either one-on-one or in small groups. They use systematic methods derived from principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), an approach to understanding and changing behaviour and to teaching skills. ABA includes a variety of methods for assessing children's behaviours and learning needs, and for intervening using techniques to teach alternative skills and behaviours to promote positive development. - Transition services and supports are provided to facilitate the integration of children into new environments. Transition planning begins early and is part of each child's Individual Program Plan (IPP). Each child will have a transition plan that reflects individual strengths and needs. The plan is integrated with other service providers involved with the family and existing community transition processes to promote smooth transitions, including the entry to school planning provided by the Ministry of Education. - Child and Family Supports are available to assist families of children with referrals to other community supports and services, including information about autism, effective reinforcement strategies and promoting social interaction to families waiting for IBI. These families may also be provided with training specifically to help ready their child for IBI, to promote skill development and to foster integration into small groups. - The School Support Program has 188 Autism Spectrum Disorder Consultants who help teachers and educators better understand how children and youth with autism learn and how the principles of ABA can help improve their learning. Training and information for teachers and other educators are provided to help them better understand how to improve the learning experience for children with autism in schools. Since it was established in 2004, thousands of contacts with teachers, educational assistants, as well as other regular and special education staff, have occurred across the province. Children with autism may also benefit from a range of other services available in communities across the province, such as: - Special Needs Resourcing in local preschool or day care centres is designed to promote the full integration of infants and children with special needs. - The Infant Development Program is part of a continuum of early intervention services for children who have, or are at risk of, developmental delays. The program provides home and in-centre support for sensory stimulation, motor development, communication skills, social interaction, emotional development, self-help skills and to help parents recognize, understand and adjust to their child's special needs. - The Special Services at Home (SSAH) Program helps children with developmental or physical disabilities and adults with a developmental disability to live at home with their families by providing funding on a time-limited basis to address individual needs. With this funding, families can purchase supports and services which they could not normally provide themselves and are not available elsewhere in the community. - Out-of-home Respite Services for children with multiple special needs requiring the greatest amount of care. Families of children with multiple special needs can receive up to seven days of respite per year, provided in a location other than their own home. - Enhanced Respite Funding is provided to families caring for a medically fragile and/or technologically dependent child living at home, whose care requires ongoing, frequent and time-consuming intervention on a 24-hour basis. - The Behaviour Management Program provides various services such as assessment and/or treatment of behaviour issues for children with special needs through community hospitals and local community support agencies. - The Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) Program provides help to parents to assist with some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a disability. The purpose of the benefit is to help children who have disabilities live as normal a life as possible at home and in the community. - Mental Health Services are delivered to children and youth by numerous community agencies located throughout the province. OTHER GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES - Engagement of parents, researchers and autism service providers through a provincial advisory group on ways to serve children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families - In partnership with the Ministry of Education, establishing a reference group to provide recommendations on effective practices that school boards can use to improve the learning environment for students with ASD - Increasing the pool of qualified autism professionals through the creation last year of an Ontario College Graduate Certificate Program in Autism and Behavioural Science, in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities - Advancing research and expertise in ASD, in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies, through the establishment of the first Endowed Chair in Autism and Behavioural Science at the University of Western Ontario, as well as an Autism Scholar Awards program - Program evaluation of children's outcomes to date in the autism intervention program (previously referred to as The Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention Program) - Together with the Ministry of Education, reviewing the first year implementation of the School Support Program - Autism Spectrum Disorder to identify best practices and learn from the experiences of service providers and school boards. The Ministry of Education has introduced reforms that will help support better outcomes for children with special needs, including, but not limited to: - School boards' special education plans will be transformed so they focus on target setting and improvement planning that is related to student achievement and program effectiveness. - The ministry is encouraging boards to streamline the identification, placement and review committee process to reduce barriers or delays to accessing special education programs and services. - The ministry will be working with school boards to reinforce the connection between a student's Individual Education Plan, the Ontario curriculum and the provincial report card. - A resource guide on effective teaching practices for students with autism will be distributed to school boards. - The Ontario Psychological Association is working with school boards to reduce current waiting times for students who require assessments and to enhance the capacity of teachers to provide effective programs for students. - School boards will be required to develop informal dispute resolution processes for issues regarding special education programs and services. - A provincial policy on mediation processes for special education programs and services will be developed in consultation with stakeholders, including a process for recognizing the credentials of mediators. - $25 million for Council of Ontario Directors of Education to support school board projects that improve instructional practices, enhance system capacity and support better achievement for students with special education needs. Disponible en fran├žais >>

For further information: James Ip, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7157;
Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156;
Valerie Poulin, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2632; Tanya Blazina, Ministry of
Education, (416) 325-2746; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514,
TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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