Parents of children with autism band together to pressure government
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2017 9:38PM EST
Tina Chapman and Anna Bisakowski, along with several other parents, have created the Autism Coalition of Quebec.
They say their children face unacceptable wait times in order to be diagnosed and to begin receiving treatment.
"We're fed up. We're tired of being ignored and treated like third-class citizens and especially our children being ignored and slipped through the cracks," said Chapman.
She said that since she met Bisakowski, she no longer feels like she is the only one who understands what it's like to have a child with autism
"As much as I have my family they don't live in my world," said Chapman.
Bisakowski's son was diagnosed with autism two years ago, at age three.
She said the wait time for Applied Behaviour Analysis is unacceptably long, and she knows several families that are paying for private therapy instead of waiting for government help.
"Parents are paying out of their pockets. They are struggling financially and they do need support and they do need individualized therapies," said Bisakowski.
Chapman's son is one of those children benefiting from Applied Behaviour Analysis.
"He recently dressed himself, by himself, and that was huge," said Chapman.
The Coalition said they want the government to speed up diagnosis and treatment, pointing to Chapman's son as an example.
He was diagnosed with autism at age three but was only eligible for government-funded treatment a year later.
"We want [treatment] in no more than four months and again, if there is no time or spot in the public system, then give us direct funding to go to our psychologist," said Chapman.
Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois was supposed to have an action plan for autism ready two months ago, and apologized for not yet completing the task.
She said the provincial government will present an action plan very soon.
"It's a matter of weeks and we're going to have the action plan. You're going to see what's going to be in it and you're going to be surprised. It will be a good plan," said Charlebois.