Kayleigh Stewart

Age: 6
Provincial Riding: Kitchener - Conestoga
Kayleigh is a six-year-old, intelligent, fun loving, carefree girl. She loves her entire family with all of her heart (and itís a big heart). She extends this love to the trained professionals that provide her with one on one therapy at ABA. She, as all people do, get along with some people better than others but will willingly work with anyone. She loves to run, jump, climb, spin and play as hard as she can. She is just like anyone elseís daughter except she is non verbal. After almost two years of therapy Kayleigh has just started to speak more. The words have always been inside her, itís just a matter of her learning how to get them out. Sheís not speaking a different language she is simply struggling to communicate.
All people learn in different ways; they are usually on the same page as the teacher and can adapt and excel quickly. However, with autism itís like reading from a different book. It takes time, patience and understanding to overcome this hurdle. As you can imagine this is best suited for a one on one learning environment, where the teacher works on getting the student first in the same book and then onto the same page. This takes time, sometimes a lot of time. Why? Everyone learns differently even people with autism.
Applying a one size fits all solution to an autism spectrum and expecting it to work, is ludicrous. Simply by the nature of the word spectrum it implies a range. Some children will need more assistance than others. Does that sound familiar? Just like every other kid, some need more assistance than others. Learning is a spectrum. Autism is a spectrum. Needs based learning is the only way forward. Therefore, needs based funding is a MUST.
If we ignore and provide my daughter, and all other kids on the autism spectrum, with five thousand dollars of funding (which covers a month of therapy half days) for the entire year, the results will be disastrous. This will impact ALL children negatively. Putting ďthese kidsĒ in a regular classroom (now 40 kids per class) will cause massive disruptions. The kid with autism will be distracting the other kids, impacting them and preventing them from learning at their full potential. The teachers wonít be equipped to handle these kids, let alone teach them. Kids who need some extra attention from the teacher wonít receive it. Other classmates without any additional needs will certainly be left to learn on their own. We need to invest in our children to invest in our future. If we invest in children with autism they can and will become tax paying members of society.
Donít dim the light on the future. Donít you dare expect people to be quite about and accept your socialist approach. Governments that preach to be for the people should be for our children too. If you silence Kayleighís voice trust that mine will be louder. Trust that her grandmaís, uncles, aunts, family friends will be louder. We will not yield. We will not relent. We will not stop.

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