When my nephew was first diagnosed with autism, I was scared. We live in a rural area, how was he going to access services? How would we get people properly trained in dealing with autism in a rural area. I cant imagine the questions facing the parents of children with autism. I was just an aunt and it felt overwhelming to me. Having schooling in child psychology and having a child who was neuro diverse, I decided to take the hard path. I decided to go back to school and get certified in ABA. I wanted to make sure that I knew my nephew was receiving the best, most recent, research based treatments.
What I didn't even consider to worry about was the fact that once I graduated there would be no jobs in my area at all. The children in my rural community would have to travel for hours to receive any kinds of treatment. The people getting jobs working with autistic kids in my town would have no college or university training. The money it costs for an BCBA to come to our town for one day is four thousand dollars. The yearly allotment for those over 6 years old who's parents don't make over the base salary. My nephew is turning 6 this fall. His parents have great jobs to help pay for the gap in his care. WIth the changes in the autism funding, they will now have to remove him from any treatment hes getting, or fund it 100% themselves. I have graduated with a 4.0 in the autism behavioural science program, I cant get a job at all.
While I wasn't happy with the old program, it was the reason I originally went back to school to make sure my nephew could get services locally. The new changes have made it even harder for those who dont live in Toronto. Maybe my story wont mean as much because I'm not the parent of an autistic child, but if I'm willing to work this hard for other peoples children, surely Lisa MacLeod can take a second look at who this program is actually benefiting.