Professionals and therapists who are in the field of providing services to children diagnosed with autism blame the snail-paced approval process resulting in unexpected funding delays pushing their clients to look elsewhere despite being needy to the core.
Nevertheless, this has resulted in parents of autistic children urging the provincial authorities to have the reimbursement process sped up as it results in carrying undue debt, guilt and carrying stress over being unable to pay behavioral therapists and speech pathologists.
In an email response, the provincial ministry has clarified about their involvement and reconfirmed about the majority of cases not hitting any delays if they are accurately filled.
The ministry attributes the delay to inaccurate or incomplete details that make way to the ministry office.
Some error has occured.
Families of kids aged under six are given access grants up to $22,000 per annum to assist them and help them recover the costs of autism-related therapies and services. The grants are further aimed at helping parents improve their child’s academic, social and communication requirements by enrolling their children with approved service providers.
Children who are aged above six and below 18 years are eligible to have grants up to $6000 for timely supports.
Adam, who is under six, has been diagnosed with autism. Jessica, Adam’s mother, says her child requires therapies for his behavioral and speech complexities.
Parents, at times, find themselves running from pillar to post in order to get necessary approvals and getting necessary reimbursements can take a long time. The delays are seen to further aggravate during holiday seasons.
At times, I feel frustrated and helpless when it comes to dealing with government fundings, says Jessica.
The mother further adds, “It ends up making me sick and I wish necessary changes are implemented to ease our lives.” Jessica has 2 young children diagnosed with autism and finds herself in need of therapists every day.
Jessica says, “At times, I find myself being unable to pay the therapists despite their timely and necessary assistance in making my children thrive to their best.” The mother further explains the feeling of anxiety that she finds herself in whenever the payments get delayed.
She recalls the incidence wherein she had to wait for up to 6 months for the payment process to be completed from the ministry branch.
In an email response, the staff from the ministry department has provided necessary clarifications stating processing times never exceed the department’s preset time limits of 30 working business days. People from the ministry say, “In most cases, the department completes and finalizes grants in less than 15 days.”
Nevertheless, the approvals can take more than necessary allocated time, should the filled-in forms be inaccurate or incomplete. At times seasonal fluctuations require additional staff to be included to respond to a huge number of applications resulting in unprecedented delays.
The spokesperson responded saying, “Every parent of an autistic child has complete rights to access services and fundings in the specified timeframe and the department is tirelessly working to ensure things happen in a timely manner.”