Ontario looking at extending direct funding for autism therapy: minister

Ontario's minister responsible for the autism file says he wants to see the province's upcoming new program offer either government-funded services or direct funding for families to pay for therapy.

The Ontario Autism Program is set to start this June and Children and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau says the implementation team is working on including a direct funding model.

When the Liberal government initially announced the new program, it said it would stop funding Intensive Behavioural Intervention therapy for children over four and would give families of those kids removed from the IBI wait list $8,000 to pay for private therapy during the transition.

But the families said that would only pay for a few months of therapy, so the government later said the families would get successive payments of $10,000 for private therapy until the new program is up and running.

Coteau says today that funding will continue past June, until kids have a spot in the new autism program, but he says the model is one he would like to see continue.

He says some parents tell him they prefer going through regional offices for the government program, while others would like direct funding to choose their child's therapy.