In many respects Miles is your typical 7 year old. He loves LEGO, Minecraft, swimming, and basketball. Due to his severe autism however, Miles is also still learning to talk, needs help toileting and eating, and has a 20min meltdown when he sees a popcorn ceiling.
Miles was diagnosed just before his 3rd birthday and was put on a waitlist for services. At that time we started to pay for therapy privately for Miles. Due to the severity of his autism, his therapy was $85,000 a year. Over the next three years we refinanced our house and took out our RRSPs, and finally, two years ago, just before his 6th birthday, Miles was eligible to enter the Ontario Autism program. He started to receive direct funding and continued his 1:1 therapy full time. Although he has been in service since he was three, Miles has made the most progress since he was five. He is starting to play with his brother and his language really started to come along in the past year.
Under the new program, because of our household income, Miles is not eligible for any support. While we recognize we are in a more fortunate financial position than others, the truth is we also have a significant amount of debt due to the years of private therapy. Moreover, we have no more house to refinance and no more RRSPs upon which to draw. We are seriously considering moving to the US where autism support is not determined at the whim of government. What we cannot do is compromise Miles progress now, at a point where he’s leapfrogging his development.