Long assessment wait times, barriers for persons with autism must be removed

Today Education and Early Childhood Development critic Lorraine Michael says government must act to remove the many barriers, including long wait times for assessment, for persons with autism.

Michael says the wait list for a child to receive an autism assessment is now 18 to 20 months and children need the diagnosis to access services. Today is the last day of Autism Awareness Month.

“Parents know that delayed treatment can harm a child’s development, so some are paying up to $1,000 for a private diagnosis in another province,” Michael said.

“I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services, what will he do immediately to eliminate the long wait time for a child autism assessment?”

Michael says adults, too, need an official, specific assessment to qualify for services but it’s not available in our health care system.

“The cost of a private assessment is high, and few medical professionals will do it,” Michael said. She asked the Minister if he would commit to helping adults with autism access a proper diagnosis to qualify for services.

Michael says again this fall there are children with autism who are not in school, because the school has not been allocated enough Student Assistant or Instructional Resource Teacher hours. She says all children have a legal right to attend school.

“I ask the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, will he ensure that all schools have the Teacher and Teaching Assistant allocations they need for their students with autism?” Michael asked.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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