April Paré at autism town hall in Windsor. Mar 8, 2019. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Windsor mom invites Premier Doug Ford to autistic daughter’s fundraiser

The mother of an autistic child in Windsor is holding a fundraiser to help her seven-year-old daughter get the therapy she desperately needs.

April Paré said the benefit will help offset the cost of Adyson’s assessment and therapy fees not covered by the province’s proposed Ontario Autism Program.

Paré said Adyson is an amazing young woman who cannot receive the help she should have under the proposed program.

“We’re in a crisis situation. She’s not doing very well in school. She’s light years behind her peers and where she should be academically,” said Pare.

Paré said the specialized rehab therapy Adyson needs requires an assessment which will cost $1,700, followed by hours of therapy at $140 an hour.

“We’re doing this to give her a bright future. We want her to be independent as she gets older. We want her to have a job and maybe even raise a family one day,” she added.

Paré said the therapy costs are unmanageable for most families and the current government plan makes zero effort to examine emerging therapies.

“Adyson got screwed over, I’m not going to lie. She was on that wait list for three years. She was pretty much at the top of the list when the changes were announced,” Pare said.

Paré said current provincial funding will not give Adyson the help she needs to ensure that she has a bright future.

Ontario’s Autism Program is being retooled and a panel is looking at a new needs assessment process and a funding formula that takes into account individual abilities and needs. Supports could include additional direct funding for children and youth with the most complex needs.

Outraged parents rallied at Queen’s Park a few months ago to point out that intensive therapy for children with autism can cost more than $80,000 a year. Paré’s main concern is a funding cap that would limit her daughter to just $5,000 a year until she is 18.

The “Addy’s Angels For Autism Fund Raiser” will be held on Friday from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion at 1570 Marentette Ave. in Windsor. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for ages four to 12, kids three and under are free.

Pasta, rolls, salad and dessert are on the menu and takeout is available. There will also be children’s activities and tons of prizes to be won.