Bricks and mortar business

The provincial government may be shutting down early intensive behavioural intervention program for autistic children, which costs $5 million per year. But, speaking with Public Eye on Tuesday last week, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman said the province is still notionally allocating $20 million toward the construction of an autism education and research centre. Minister Coleman also said those organizing that effort - which includes spa owners Sergio and Wendy Cocchia - were scheduled to meet on Wednesday or Thursday to discuss where the centre would be built.

6 Comments

At least that's one pot of money that'll go where it's supposed to go :-).

I really can't agree on that! There are already programs like this running (EIBI programs), though on a much smaller scale. The government has just axed these programs at the expense of the futures of these children and their families. They could easily put this $20 million toward funding the rest of the 800 families with children with Autism and come closer to reaching the goal of equity they are so loudly proclaiming! How is this at all fair? Good luck explaining that one to me. We'll spend this money to impress the rest of the world with what we can accomplish? Do you think the world would be impressed to know what human cost was involved? There are already programs in place. Why spend so much to recreate the wheel? Work with what is already there and make it better and more accessible to all!!! And I don't want to hear about how it is a different Ministry. Businesses and households everywhere move money between various accounts to make things work all the time. The government could too, if they really wanted to. This once again smells of special interests and friends of the Premier.

Good points, Fighting for my son. In the long term, structual reform is necessary on autism.

Fighting for my son I am so on the same page as you. I don't understand how the govt can justify taking away the EIBI program to then relocate a similar center somewhere else. And when do they plan to have that done by because my daughter is no longer able to go to her program after Jan. 31st! So these kids get cut, and really have nothing much to fall back on while the govt takes their time to do what exactly? Maybe taking their time so they can use the money elsewhere...OLYMPICS! I don't know much about politics, but I do know that it's not honest or in the best interest of these kids. I smell some b.s. here my friends. And if they have $20 million they could use for construction why can't they just give that back to the kids for therapy? We don't need another building we need the programs that we have now that are working to continue. We need all these kids able to have proper funding for adequate health care. I think $20 million would go a very long way for these kids if used right. To me this money isn't being used right at all.

I don't understand how this makes any sense at all. Isn't the reason The govt is saying the CURRENT EIBI programs are being cut is because it's not fair to the families in BC who don't have access to it because they don't live anywhere near where these programs are run? How does opening a shiny new center in Vancouver help ANYONE other than the people who live in Vancouver?

This is as stupid as shutting down the Legislative building in Victoria and rebuilding it somewhere in Vancouver.

The province needs to stop doing what they believe is politically expedient and start doing what is appropriate for children with special needs. I am greatly surprised that the shuttering of the EIBI program has been considered newsworthy. The program only served 70 children at an annual cost of $5 million dollars. Although the services was effective, there are more efficient ways to achieve the same goals. There are many thousands of children with special needs within the province, and the all deserve access to early services -- even those without autism.

Funding to provide early intervention therapy services (preschool physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language services) are half of what are needed to provide reasonably full servcies. This is the critical service that could assist these children to thrive through their lifetimes. There are also few mental health services available for preschool children with special needs. Funding for the autism program now greatly eclipses funding for early intervention services for children with all other diagnosis.

The province needs to stop diagnosis-based funding and start providing all necessary services to children with special needs. They also need to stop paying excessive fees to private therapists, such as they are with the autism program. The government could assess public therapists for under $60 per hour, including all benefits and administrative overhead. Public therapists also generally work in multidisciplinary teams that improve both the efficiencies and effectiveness of the service delivery model. Why then is the province wasting tax payer's money within the autism program by paying private therapists $100-$150 per hour.

The government knows this. They also know the appropriate course of action. Come on folks; do the right thing.

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