Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall made Tuesday’s election promise surrounded by toys.
Speaking at Stepping Stones Autism Therapy Centre in Saskatoon, he announced annual, individualized funding for families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Wall said it would be for kids under six years old and would start at $4,000, increasing to $8,000 by 2019.
Currently, Saskatchewan parents can only access generalized funding. Wall said that has increased significantly over the years on a percentage basis, with the government currently providing $8.1 million through the Ministry of Health.
“But it’s just fallen short. We know that other provinces have moved towards individualized funding with great results or better results.”
Families would require an autism diagnosis in order to access funding, but Wall said the government is willing to work with parents who are struggling to get that diagnosis.
The Saskatchewan Party is also working to form a group of stakeholders that would find ways to ensure there are enough autism support workers for pre-school children in Saskatchewan.
“There is a role for government, obviously, in terms of quality of life issues, and there is especially a role for government when it comes to those who are most vulnerable,” Wall said.
The eventual goal would be to provide individualized annual funding of $15,000 to $18,000 for kids under six years old and $4,800 for children under the age of 18.