More Saskatchewan families will soon benefit from expanded funding for families with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Effective immediately, Autism Individualized Funding will be available for children up to age 11. The provincial government first announced the expansion of funding for children between the ages of six and 11 in the 2021-22 Provincial Budget. Children who were 11 on or before March 31, 2021 are eligible to apply for one final payment.

“The expansion of this program will make a positive difference in the daily lives of children with autism and their families,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “Children who have a different ability deserve every chance to learn, grow and thrive.”

In 2021-22, $10.3 million has been allocated to provide $6,000 annually per child with ASD from six to 11 years old and $8,000 annually per child with ASD under the age of six.

The program gives parents funding for therapeutic interventions and family supports that best suit their child’s individual needs. These may include respite services, therapeutic equipment, and training for parents and caregivers.

The application form and eligible services list are available at saskatchewan.ca/autism. A registry of autism service providers is available to assist parents in locating service providers. It includes behavioural consultants, physical therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

Private service providers are encouraged to sign up to be listed on the registry, and can contact autismregistry@health.gov.sk.ca for more information on how to do so.

ASD Individualized Funding is a joint program involving the Ministries of Health, Social Services and Education. It supports the goals of the 10-year Saskatchewan Disability Strategy and Saskatchewan’s Early Years Plan. The program supplements a continuum of autism services that continue to be provided in the public system, including autism consultants, support workers and rehabilitation therapists.

Additional information on the program can be found at saskatchewan.ca/autism.

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