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Title - Cynthia Burk
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Increased Special Needs funding, a good first step but ...

Cynthia Burk
OurHometown.ca

Increased Special Needs funding, a good first step but ...
As a Mom with an epileptic and autistic toddler, it's great to see the Ontario government is paying attention. These words bring hope of a shorter wait time for ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) and IBI (Intensive Behaviourial Intervention). It's one thing to put it to paper so I'm anxious to see how quickly it translates to our very real life. And by OUR life, I mean all of the lives of families with special needs kids. The Ontario government is boasting improved access to rehabilitation services for 1,300 kids.
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Stoney Point - August 13, 2013 - Reduced Wait Times and Improved Services is the tagline from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

As a Mom with an epileptic and autistic toddler, it's great to see the government is paying attention. These words bring hope of a shorter wait time for ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) and IBI (Intensive Behaviourial Intervention). It's one thing to put it to paper so I'm anxious to see how quickly it translates to our very real life. And by OUR life, I mean all of the lives of families with special needs kids. The Ontario government is boasting improved access to rehabilitation services for 1,300 kids.

Take 1,300 kids across 107 ridings and it equals 12 kids per riding. Wait times for services in the GTA is three years. It's a step in the right direction, a good first step but ...

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autistic disorder, often called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder usually referred to as PDD-NOS.

Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group. Experts estimate that 1 out of 88 children age 8 will have an ASD. Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.

What that means in our life is that our son who is almost four is non verbal. He's a healthy, gorgeous, mischievous little dude who comprehends some of what we ask him but isn't great with reasoning. The simplest way to explain it is he's still steps behind developmentally and he has some unique habits and a wonderful way of looking at everything he encounters in the world.

Sometimes our son looks at things sideways or upside down and he will make a fantastic engineer because he can balance anything. Objects that defy balance are often precariously perched in our home or the places we visit.

It's a unique world we live in - we tackle everything with baby steps. Therapies and the magnificent people that deliver them are a life saver - a necessity for him to develop. They not only work at teaching our kids how to speak, cope and transition, they teach Mom and Dad, teachers, grandparents, coaches and the list goes on.

As I stated earlier, this funding is a great first step.

Quick Facts
Ontario is increasing annual funding to children's rehabilitation centres by $5 million to reduce wait times and improve access to services.

Ontario funds 21 children's treatment centres across the province, providing service to more than 64,000 kids a year.

Ontario is also helping five northern children's treatment centres improve their information systems so they can serve kids and families better. These new supports are the first step in responding to recommendations from Tracy MacCharles, the former Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, on how to improve families' experience finding information, navigating the system and transitioning from child and youth to adult services.

Cynthia Burk is a General Manager by profession and a first time Momma. She now has no extra money to collect wine and lives vicariously through her friends that actually get sleep. She loves experimenting in the kitchen ... with food. If you have questions or wish to contact Cynthia, you can email her at cburk@ourhometown.ca







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