According to recent news reports, the autism rate in Ontario is estimated to be one in 88 children. In fact, the average age for a child to be diagnosed with autism in Ontario is 3. You can imagine how this can be a heart-breaking wait for parents, particularly as they would eb the first ones to notice and perhaps document the early signs at the time of birth itself. While all experts agree that a child who is diagnosed with autism requires to be put into treatment, parents cannot do so easily without funds from the state. Why? The answer is simple. Therapy for autism in Ontario requires them to shell out $60,000 for a year.
Despite promises by politicians to improve this grim scenario, there has been very little action in tackling this fast growing developmental disorder. Canada's Charter of Rights states that every Canadian citizen has access to equal rights, including people with disabilities. No one has any doubts that autism is a disability.While some say that Ontario is on the right track, many point out that enough is not being done to help or support the affected families.
What is worse, once given a diagnosis, the wait for services can be as long as four years — a damaging loss of time for a child.
Autism Therapy: The Way forward
Some of the simplest solutions are the toughest to implement. But I believe these can work wonders in bridging the gap between the waiting period and the actual treatment process :
1. Reduce the waiting period with planned medical intervention that can be spread out into diagnostic phases. The authorities will have to differentiate between how public and private therapy can enter this picture at varied time slots.
2. Parents require a free therapy counselling system that provides them with integrated service solutions that will not cost them at all.
3. As the age of the autistic child increases, parents will have to tackle crises after crises. There is an urgent need to develop proactive involvement between the parent and the counselor to find a tailor made action plan for the autistic child.
What is sad is that in India, the scenario is much more bleaks. There is rampant red tapism, procedural delays and many other factors that make it very difficult for parents of autistic children to give them fair opportunities. In fact, there isn't enough proven statistics on autistic children in India, what treatment processes they undergo and what the role of the government is in helping them move forward.
We live in a world where laws appear more humane than the people.