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'I can get my haircut before I can get my son therapy': Sask. mother says autism services neglected in reopen plans
SASKATOON -- A Saskatchewan mother is calling on the province to reopen public autism services.
Natasha Worfolk said due to COVID-19 restrictions, her four-year-old son, Logan, has gone months without the consistent therapies he needs.
She said the province’s reopening priorities are flawed.
“I can get my haircut before I can get my son therapy,” Worfolk told CTV News.
“The idea that opening tattoo parlours is more of a priority, or is happening sooner, than my son being able to get therapy through the Saskatchewan Health Authority is a little ridiculous.”
- These businesses will be able to reopen next week under Phase 3
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According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority Service Resumption Plan, “specialized services for clients with developmental disabilities, autism and brain injuries” will re-open in Phase Three — but the date is “to be determined.”
The Ministry of Health said autism services are being provided digitally.
“Through the use of virtual technology and telephone, autism support workers are contacting and helping families cope with the needs of their child,” spokesperson Colleen Book said.
In the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, medical businesses, such as occupational therapy clinics, were allowed to re-open on May 4.
Worfolk said she paid $810 last month for a private speech pathologist, to ensure her son’s verbal skills don’t fall behind. She’s questioning why some privately-owned services can operate, but autism services in the public sector are closed.
“I don’t see a reason that if the private sector can function and still have those options available, why can’t the public sector?” she said.
Worfolk would like to see the Regina Autism Centre, and all services for people with disabilities, reopen “immediately.”