Adult Autism Spectrum Service Providers Dismayed by Lack of Progress November 13, 2015
Youth and adults with autism and Asperger Syndrome face the ongoing prospect of few services or supports
Ontario Partnership for Adults with Aspergers and Autism (OPAAA), composed of all the
major autism service providers in the province, is troubled about the lack of services available
to youth and adults on the autism spectrum. In their meeting last week, they heard more
evidence of the lack of a uniform approach and understanding of the profiles of these individuals across the province.
Youth and adults living with autism have seen a significant decline in services available since
the introduction of Developmental Services Ontario in July 2011. The agencies argue that costs
of the province’s regressive social policies will have both immediate and long-term effects
including poor or no access to supports in housing, post-secondary education, employment and mental health.
“Although the new Act brought much needed changes to how Ontario meets the needs of our
community, people living with autism find themselves worse off now, overall” says Dr.
Stoddart, Director of The Redpath Centre and OPAAA Co-Chair. “This drop-off in services is
due to flawed exclusionary criteria, which emphasizes low IQ in order to be eligible for help, lack of training in the DSOs, and lack of additional funding for new services. ”
Although Ontario’s three-year $810 million investment
in developmental services will be of assistance, it will not solve these widespread cross-systemic problems, nor will it provide new services. In order to develop and evaluate services, collection and reporting of data on service accessibility and utilization is vital.
OPAAA has continually advocated for an inter-ministerial committee to oversee and coordinate the delivery of programs across provincial Ministries, including Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. “This crisis cannot be addressed by a few Ministries in isolation,” emphasizes Marg Spoelstra, Executive Director of Autism Ontario and OPAAA Co-Chair. “Although we have had multiple meetings with Ministry officials and have been active advocates over the past two
years, OPAAA has seen no significant shift in the province’s response to this crisis.”
“We must be vigilant in our work to ensure the rights of people with autism and mental health disorders are addressed and met with compassion and understanding,” Stoddart added.
Ontario Partnership for Adults with Aspergers and Autism is a province-wide leadership group.
OPAAA is a distinct, collective voice for the unique needs of transitional aged youth and the estimated 50,000+ adults living with ASD in Ontario. We are parents, family members, researchers, clinicians, service providers, educators, advocates and self-advocates, adults with lived experience. Our focus is on
all matters related to the unique and distinct needs of youth and adults on the autism spectrum. To learn more, visit our website: http://www.autismontario.com/adults
416-246-9592 ext. 232
Dr. Kevin Stoddart
The Redpath Centre
416-920-4999 ext. 0169