Father of 2 children with autism has questions about government's plan to consult parents

A Sudbury father is cautiously optimistic about the provincial government’s latest plan to consult parents of children with autism.
Parents across Ontario have been protesting provincial government changes to autism therapy programs. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

A Sudbury father is cautiously optimistic about the provincial government's latest plan to consult parents of children with autism.

The month-long consultations begin May 1. An online survey, telephone town halls and roundtables will be held by MPPs in their constituencies.

Sean Staddon is the father of two young children on the autism spectrum. He is also founder of the Northern Ontario Autism Alliance. Staddon has questions about the government's consultation process.

"I'd like to know how they're going to be transparent about these telephone town halls and who's going to have access to these online surveys to see the data that it isn't skewed one way or another," Staddon said.

"The trust between parents and the provincial government has been broken," he added.

Parents have been protesting ever since early February when Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced cuts to eliminate the wait list for government-funded treatment for roughly 23,000 children on the autism spectrum.  She also announced that the PC government would provide direct funding to families with autistic children.

Staddon says there's a huge lack of trained professionals in the area.

"The government can give me all the money and it wouldn't matter to people in northern Ontario because we don't have anywhere to spend it," he said.

The government says that an advisory committee made up of parents and autism advocates will review the consultation results.

With files from Morning North


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