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Benchmarks are not the real issue here

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 15 years and 186 days ago. Viewed 5,185 times. #2
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Benchmarks are not the real issue here

There has been a preliminary report which identifies the benchmark process that is going to be applied to Autism Intervention Program clients. This is an attempt to codify certain things that have been implied in the program thus far:

  • clients will be helped to some maximum standard and then discharged
  • clients will be expected to make progress through the program
The goal of both these operational assumptions is to get more children into, and therefore through (and therefore, out of), the program while they are still young enough to gain value from it.

Naturally, parents of children in the program are resisting the benchmarks, since it codifies the terms for discharge. Without codified terms, there is always the hope that service can be continued, especially given the lack of services to graduate to, let alone be transitioned to.

It occurs to me is that we are perhaps getting hung up on the wrong thing here.

First, there are two struggles going on in the parent community: first to get IN to the Autism Intervention Programs, and second to either STAY in or transition to "more appropriate services".

When we did our contract with AIPEO for our son, I asked them about the exit clauses, one of which boiled down to the AIP not being the most appropriate service for our son. The staffer who worked with me told me that if there was a more appropriate service, my son would be discharged without regard to whether or not there was available space for him in the indicated service.

And to some extent this is fair -- one would not expect a kindergarden teacher to provide further instruction to a child just because there was no Grade 1 space available. And the kindergarden teacher is in no way responsible for ensuring that Grade 1 is appropriately funded and staffed.

With the Benchmarks, AIP is trying to codify standards for who stays and who goes, because in all fairness the AIP constituency is the children in their care and the children on their wait-list. It isn't their responsibility to ensure that there is space in the next step for these children, and to hold children in the program beyond these standards is unfair to those children who are still on the wait-list.

The goal of the program is what is best for the children, plural. If the program gets to the point where they are helping one child a little at expense of helping a different child a great deal, that's not what the program is about and the first child should be discharged.

This is hard for us as parents because we want what is best for our child, singular. Our focus is different, and that is why we want our child to continue to receive help if nothing [better/else] is going to be made available to us.

Whats the point of all this?

The point is that our problem lies higher up the Ministerial food chain at the Ministry, perhaps even with the Minister himself, and by extention Finance, the Cabinet, and the Premier.

Only by getting the Ministry to commit to a full program of every level, with proper funding and staffing, will we see the kind of program that our children need.

And political realities mean that even if we could get such a program, very few of us current parents in the system would benefit from it because of the length of time it would take to get such a program up and running.

In a lot of ways the advocacy we do here won't change much for our kids, but it has the chance to help kids in future, and we should maybe try to remember that.

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