Government Expands Funding for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
More Saskatchewan families will soon benefit from expanded funding for families with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Beginning July 27, 2021, Autism Individualized Funding will be available for children up to age 11. The provincial government first announced the expansion of funding for children between the ages of six and 11 in the 2021-22 Provincial Budget. Children who were 11 on or before March 31, 2021 are eligible to apply for one final payment.
"The expansion of this program will make a positive difference in the daily lives of children with autism and their families," Health Minister Paul Merriman said. "Children who have a different ability deserve every chance to learn, grow and thrive."
In 2021-22, $10.3 million has been allocated to provide $6,000 annually per child with ASD from six to 11 years old and $8,000 annually per child with ASD under the age of six.
An estimated 1,000 families will benefit from the expansion. The program gives parents funding for therapeutic interventions and family supports that best suit their child’s individual needs. These may include respite services, therapeutic equipment, and training for parents and caregivers.
“To create an inclusive province, we need to ensure that children have access to what they need to succeed in their communities,” Social Services Minister Lori Carr said. “Expanding this program meets the recommendation in the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy to improve access to supports for people with disabilities.”
“We are very excited to see the expansion of this program,” Autism Services of Saskatoon Executive Director Lynn Latta said. “Children with autism need access to a continuum of services in those early developmental years. Far too often these are beyond the capacity of the family to fund and difficult decisions are forced to be made. With this funding expansion, that becomes less of an issue and will allow families to plan for and access critically needed services and supports for their child. Autism Services of Saskatoon is pleased to be a support to children and families as they determine the best service options for their unique situation.”
The application form and eligible services list are available at saskatchewan.ca/autism. A registry of autism service providers is available to assist parents in locating service providers. It includes behavioural consultants, physical therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.
Private service providers are encouraged to sign up to be listed on the registry, and can contact [email protected] for more information on how to do so.
ASD Individualized Funding is a joint program involving the Ministries of Health, Social Services and Education. It supports the goals of the 10-year Saskatchewan Disability Strategy and Saskatchewan’s Early Years Plan. The program supplements a continuum of autism services that continue to be provided in the public system, including autism consultants, support workers and rehabilitation therapists.
Additional information on the program can be found at saskatchewan.ca/autism.