By in Parenting

Cost of Autism: Canadian Province Gives Parents Funding

Having an autistic kid is expensive. Not the kind of expenses you'd have for a child who has limited physical mobility or a chronic health issue. But expensive in the way of paying for behaviour therapy, weighted blankets and vests, communication tools, and round the clock supervision.

One of the beautiful things about living in Canada is most provinces offer some form of help for families saddled with these extra expenses. This usually means a free or subsidized program – say behaviour therapy (ABA) for preschoolers with autism. Kids lucky enough to be diagnosed at an early age then proceed to a waiting list, and if that luck holds they get a year or two of part-time therapy before they start school.

Of course the downside is if the list is too long, kids age off without ever getting the much needed service.

Not so in my new home of British Columbia. Here, parents apparently fought tooth and nail for help. And now it comes in the form of an expense account, to be used to pay for materials and services the parent chooses within reasonable limits. Parents can hire a support worker, engage the services of a behaviour therapist or other professional, or use the funds to pay for an organized activity like summer camp.

Children who are under 6 get a very large sum of money in order to pay for intensive therapy before they start school. Older kids get $6,000 per year to be spent on non-school related activities and equipment.

All I can say is, what a blessing this is for those of us who need it!

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Image credit: Autism ribbon by Melesse/Wikipedia ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

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MegL wrote on October 15, 2014, 3:16 PM

That sounds VERY helpful.

Feisty56 wrote on October 15, 2014, 4:56 PM

How wonderful it is that British Columbia provides such funding! I realize there are many different types of challenges a parent with an autistic child might face. Not having the money for needed services shouldn't be one of them.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 15, 2014, 5:41 PM

Unfortunately, there are a good many other disabilities such as leaning disabilities and ADHD, for which there is no such funding available. I have a girlfriend whose little one has cerebral palsy, and who has to spend hundreds and thousands on ong-distance trips to see the specialist, on orthotics, and on therapy. We need to see this kind of program for everyone who faces challenges, whether physical or intellectual.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 15, 2014, 5:42 PM

I just wish we'd had this kind of funding when the Bug was little!

Feisty56 wrote on October 15, 2014, 6:02 PM

Yes we do. Other nations make these sorts of things a priority. Surely the US and Canada can make available like-solutions.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 15, 2014, 6:08 PM

It seems the only reason this particular funding exists is that a lot of parents banded together to bring a class action suit against the provincial government. It saddens me that nothing is done, short of people having to sue for it :(

Kwriter-25 wrote on October 15, 2014, 9:01 PM

Autism is on the rise and many parents can use the help to deal with the expenses that come along with an autistic child.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 15, 2014, 9:06 PM

The major benefit of getting the money directly is being able to choose our own service providers, and not ending up with kids aging off of the wait list.

Kwriter-25 wrote on October 15, 2014, 9:09 PM

My brother is has autism and he has a therapist and my mom got to choose the company she wanted to work with him.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 16, 2014, 1:39 PM

I bet your Mom also had to pay or get her insurance to pay for the therapy! Things work very differently in the US vs. Canada.