Did you know that today is World Autism Awareness Day? Did you also know that some families wait for years before getting an official diagnosis and subsequent treatment?
Both are true. And I've said it before and I'll say it again. The manner in which some families are being treated is nothing short of criminal.
Senator Jim Munson wrote an opinion-piece that was published in the Toronto Star. As he sees it, Canada is facing "an ever-growing crisis. It is a crisis of long wait times for early diagnosis and therapy, when it is most effective. It is a crisis around the lifetime needs of young people with autism transitioning to adult life. It is a cruel financial crisis for parents who are crumbling under unbearable stress."
He is absolutely right. The emotional and financial strain is simply too much for some families.
Munson is also right when he says "We need to address this crisis with clear national public policy and political leadership. This is a national crisis. Politicians need to display the political will to take action. This is about human rights, fairness and equality of services for all Canadians. We can not afford the cost of lost opportunities and the increasing lifetime support costs of people with autism, not to mention the human costs associated with stress in families."
My question is, how long will we have to wait for a clear national policy and leadership? We've waited far too long as it is.
Jim Munson will join me at 2:30 this afternoon.