As part of the 2016 Budget, Ontario is investing $333 million over the next five years to launch the new Ontario Autism Program, which will provide children and youth with critical interventions faster, and provide services that are better matched to their needs.
The newly expanded children's autism program will make it easier for families to access services for their children by reducing wait times, providing more flexible services based on children's needs, and serving more children and youth. It will also help children receive intensive therapy services during the key early developmental years.
Within two years, provincial wait times for children's autism services are projected to drop by more than half, on average.
The new approach is informed by advice from families, clinical experts and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Expert Committee. It is consistent with scientific evidence and will provide a more responsive continuum of supports. The transition to the new Ontario Autism Program will happen over the next two years.
Highlights of the new program include:
To ensure a successful transition from the current program to the future program, the government will establish an advisory group of service providers, parents and other experts to provide strategic advice.
Giving every child the opportunity to thrive and have the best possible start in life is part of the government's plan to support families and provide services that allow all children and youth to reach their full potential.