Hike funding

Parents rally, opposition scorns BC government over new autism funding model – Trail Daily Times

David Bridges’ son Cameron was in a ‘desperate situation’, attacking others and risking his safety trying to run into traffic, at a time when no autism support or funding was initially available of his life.

“Now he’s living a fantastic life, largely because of the funding we had,” Bridges said of his son, now 27. “It’s been almost like a life or death change for him and he’s a happy boy and he’s able to go to work, he’s able to participate safely in the activities of society and we’re so happy for him. him.”

That’s because Cameron received individualized care growing up, said Bridges, a “lifesaver for parents.”

It’s also why Langley’s father and his wife Michelle attended a small event outside the BC Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 9, where parents, family members and MLAs opposition have called on the province to end its plan to phase out individualized funding for neurodiverse children and youth.

Under the new system, families will receive services at community hubs by March 2025 and will not need a diagnosis to access medical care and provincial support.

Elena Lawson, one of the parents who organized Wednesday’s event, fears British Columbia is taking a similar approach to Ontario, which has seen its waiting list for autism services skyrocket in more than 50,000 people.

“We can’t have that here,” she said, adding that parents have spent years building support teams for their children. “All of this is taken from us.”

The province is holding information and awareness sessions through the spring to “gather feedback and help with a smooth transition for families and service providers.”

In Lawson’s experience, she said consultation has been virtually non-existent so far. An online briefing session she attended late last year saw attendees muted, she said, giving the impression that the government is bragging about the hub model at the instead of responding to concerns.

Wednesday’s protest heard from parents who have seen positive transformations in their children — as well as people on the spectrum who have experienced it for themselves — thanks to the Individualized Funding System.

Burnaby resident Diane Pearce said her daughter, Madison Ross, couldn’t read, write or count until she received special education. “Please listen to the kids, (who) know what works best for them,” Ross told the crowd.

“It’s devastating, my son will be affected. There is going to be a regression,” Lawson said. “You’ve worked so hard to get support for your child and they’re so successful, and now (it’s) being ripped off and you don’t know what the future holds.”

The province has yet to respond to a request for comment, but said last year that families will receive the same level of support through the needs-based hub model.

“This idea that you can make sweeping changes without talking to the people affected is an unfortunate trend we’ve seen with this government,” BC’s new Liberal leader Kevin Falcon said in a brief appearance at the event. “Nothing is more important than ensuring our children get the best possible services they deserve and (families) know what those services are.”

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