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Red Deer-area father says the province is not taking his son's autism seriously

Red Deer Advocate - 6/29/2019

A central Alberta father is questioning why his autistic son was first approved for a provincial program — and then his case was put up for review only days later.

Tim Moir is wondering if a critical letter he wrote about the Community and Social Services department is behind the about-face.

"The dates coincide," said Moir, whose five-year-old barely speaks, but is supposed to enter kindergarten this fall.

The local man wants to access crucial therapies for his son. But although the family was told that their boy was approved for the Family Supports for Children with Disabilities Program in a letter sent June 21, just six days later, the family was hearing otherwise.

"Although Charles has been deemed eligible… FSCD is not able to commit to or confirm a start date … All assessed services are being channelled and reviewed at a higher level at this time, with unknown timelines on approvals," states an email Moir received on June 27 from a case worker.

Moir is concerned because he'd sent an email critical of the department to Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan, and this was forwarded to Alberta Community and Social Services.

"I was concerned about how the department was run," he said.

And just after he heard his email was forwarded, he received notice of the review from the case worker.

Moir is particularly concerned because there's no timeline established for the delay, and he wants his son to gain timely access to needed therapies.

When asked to explain why the autistic boy's approval was put up for review, Natasha Kornak, press secretary for the Community and Social Services minister, responded: "The ministry is closely monitoring and managing service requests based on current policies and is prioritizing services for Albertans with the most critical and urgent needs."

She added her department is looking into this case and will reach out to the client. According to Kornak, no recent changes were made to any disability-related programs, including the Family Supports for Children with Disabilities program.

Moir said he wants to hear that his son's diagnosis of autism is being taken seriously by the government.

"Right now, it doesn't feel like it, with all of this back and forth."

 
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