I've been hearing vague promises that the decision to dump children off the waitlist for ABA services was a temporary measure, that a new program is coming which will be designed for those children and that more programs for older children and adults are also supposed to be in place sometime in the next five years.
I'll believe it when I see it.
Now, I don't doubt that the government is well-intentioned but they have a tendency to not think such things through and then get tripped up in the details. The biggest question I can immediately see is where are they going to find the service providers to run these programs? The private sector is full and running waitlists. There's a lot of competition to hire people which means that by definition, there aren't enough people to fill the jobs which are already out there, let alone fill a bunch of new jobs.
I also don't see any evidence of the government encouraging high school and university students to take behavioural therapy or providing grants for people to get those degrees. So there isn't likely to be an increase in potential job-seekers anytime soon.
(Granted, this or another plan could all be happening. I'm not omniscient, nor do I have such deep tentacles into the educational world to be certain, but I'm not seeing any evidence of it.)
I don't like the way the government has handled it. I don't have a problem with the new ABA program. I think it will be a great one. But I'm not okay with having dumped a bunch of children and families who need help.
If it had been me setting up this 5 year plan, I would have started at the opposite end: with the adults. I would have gotten those programs in place and running and then stepped back to deal with teens and youth. Then school age children. Then preschoolers. And finally the initial toddlers.
There are always gaps when setting up a program but this way people wouldn't "age out" into nothing. The supports would be in place to help people transition. Doing it the other way practically invites lawsuits like the one currently being rumoured for the families who were cut from the waitlists. Which is exactly how the ABA program got extended into serving children for whom it wasn't appropriate. A class action lawsuit forced the government's hand.
That was over ten years ago. Which means there has been plenty of time to come up with plans and support, so I'm not sympathetic to claims otherwise.
Here's hoping the government has more planned than a sound-byte and a photo op. Here's hoping they are ready to dig down and do the work necessary to help.