Premier Brad Wall today announced a re-elected Saskatchewan Party government will introduce individualized funding for children under the age of six who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“Individualized financial support for the parents of children with autism and ASD will provide parents with additional resources to decide which supports are best suited for their children,” Wall said.
Starting in 2017, a Saskatchewan Party government will introduce and then increase funding for children under the age of six with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The funding will start at $4,000 annually, increasing to $8,000 by 2019-2020. The eventual goal is to provide individualized annual funding of $15,000 to $18,000 annually for children under six and $4,800 annually for school aged children under 18.
Shannon Hill, President of Parent Advocates for Autism Treatment in Saskatchewan (PAATS) said this is a landmark day for autism treatment in Saskatchewan.
“With individualized funding, no matter where you live in the province, no matter where your child falls on the spectrum, families will be able to choose the treatment and care that will most help their child,” Hill said. “This is proof the government listens.”
To help in the transition towards an individualized funding model for ASD services in Saskatchewan, a Saskatchewan Party government will establish a working group of stakeholders to review jurisdictions that have already introduced individualized funding, like British Columbia. The working group will provide recommendations on issues like:
• Ensuring there are sufficient professional practitioners and other support providers for pre-school children with ASD in communities across the province;
• How best to support school aged children, both in the school system and through an individualized funding model; and
• How existing funding which will continue for ASD in Saskatchewan can be most effectively utilized and integrated within a new individualized funding model.
“We look forward to working with the government and other stakeholders to help improve access and treatment for all children and youth with autism,” Hill said. “Together, we can build a support system that offers much better service for children in Saskatchewan and those benefits will follow them into adulthood. We can’t wait to get started.”
“This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have a strong and growing economy – so we can help support families of children with additional needs,” Wall said. “This has been a priority of our Saskatchewan Party government over the past eight years and it will continue to be if we are re-elected.
“Assisting families with special needs – it’s part of our plan to keep Saskatchewan strong,” Wall said.
For further information: Kathy Young, (306) 359-1638 or 1-800-966-9611, firstname.lastname@example.org