Connor McCarthy

Age: 7
Provincial Riding: Brantford - Brant
Connor is currently receiving services and he is in his third year. Connor was diagnosed with Autism before his second birthday. My husband and I have a background in working with adults who have special needs. Given our background, we knew where to begin. We approached our family Doctor who was extremely supportive. He followed our lead and got us in touch with all of the right people. We started with Lansdowne. They came and did an assessment on Connor and then we met with a Pediatrician and he gave Connor the diagnosis. He got us on the waitlist for things that Connor was going to need. One of those things that Connor was going to need was IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention). Connor was finally able to have this therapy just after his fifth birthday. He started full time almost immediately because his SIB'S (Self Injurious Behaviours) were through the roof. He would smash his head off of objects (kitchen counters, floors, furniture), he would smash himself in the head, face and neck causing black eyes, goosebumps and bloody noses. Well it didn't happen over night, we began to see a huge change in our son. Because of his therapy he was starting to learn to communicate without SIB'S and he was learning to self regulate. He was using PEC'S as a form of communication and he was learning how to do it well. We also heard him using his voice. He was saying more and more words. He was associating names to people and names to requested items. Our boy was happy. There has been so much progress made in his life and now we are about to lose all of that. Connor does not like change. He doesn't like a shift in the familiar. When Connor gets sick or there is a disruption in his routine, his SIB'S will come right back up. Because of him receiving services we have been able to help him implement appropriate strategies for communicating with us and with other people. This therapy has been life changing. Our family can not afford to continue with these supports and take on the financial obligation. We have come so far and because our family is maxed financially, our son will lose everything he has worked so hard to achieve. Everything that has been put in place will be wiped away. When he enters the public school system, he will not be able to receive the adequate supports that he so desperately needs and requires. The public school system is not trained in ABA or IBI and now our son (amongst thousands of other children) will slip through the cracks. The teacher's and EA'S are all ready maxed. They can not take on this new responsibility and adequately provide a learning environment that is inclusive to all children. Our greatest fear, is that something tragic is going to happen before our government realizes the impact that this is going to have on everyone. The money they are offering won't even help those children who are needing services. They are not offering enough support financially to do anything for these children who are needing services. Don't take away our children's future. Come back to the table and find a solution. This plan will only bring destruction of something that Ontario has worked so hard to build. We will lose all of our ABA and IBI trained therapists and there will be so many families in crises with no where to turn. #PauseThePlan there is still time to fix this.

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