Age: 10
Provincial Riding: Sudbury
When we first heard about the announcement of changes to the Ontario autism program, we were horrified by what it would mean to children on the severe end of the spectrum. Then, we realized just how much of an impact the Ontario autism program had on our own family, school and community. Our son, Nicholas was diagnosed with mild to moderate autism when he was 3 years old. As a young child, his speech was delayed and his behaviour raised red flags. He had frequent meltdowns, causing him to injure himself, and he showed signs of anxiety, anger and aggressiveness. What worried us most was the way he internalized much of his anger and anxiety, and often walked around with self-inflicted bruises and bite marks. Our doctors put us in touch with Child & Community Resources, where we received ABA training and access to a variety of services including Brief Behavioural Consultations and Respite. When Nicholas went to school, he received enhanced support through Autism Services in order to be able to attend daycare before and after school. Nicholas has grown into a funny, confident child who communicates effectively in English and French, and who continues to learn to manage his behaviour through the support we receive through Autism services, the efforts of his amazing EA, and the wonderful teachers who have worked with him along the way. We continue to seek support in order for him to thrive, and rely on the expertise of Autism experts in our community. We are so proud of Nicholas and so grateful for the services that are there when he needs them. Early intervention is key with kids on the Autism spectrum, and the fact that children might not have access to the services they so desperately need will impact them, their families, the children who share classrooms with them whose learning will likely be diluted by their intense needs and the greater community that they live in every day.

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