Cruel Cuts to Autism Services

Scandalous cuts to autism services here in Illinois have hit service providers across the state in a devastating way. The Hope Institute, one of the finest agencies offering help for autistic people, has been hit very hard.

As I show in Walker Finds a Way, a Crisis Team from the Hope Institute essentially saved Walker’s life. This is the kind of help the state says it can no longer afford.

Who’s getting hurt and how?

Children, families, providers sort through ‘devastating’ cuts in autism-related services
 By Dean Olsen, The State Journal-Register, 2/3/2016

Families of Illinois children with autism are reporting declines in their children’s communication skills and heightened anxiety after the ongoing lack of a state budget prompted drastic reductions in services statewide.

Springfield’s Autism Clinic at The Hope Institute for Children and Families has heard from parents who are seeing their children regress socially after losing services that were made more affordable to low-income families through a $4.3 million grant to Hope’s statewide Autism Program.

Hope hasn’t received any of that money because of a state budget impasse that began July 1, the first day of fiscal 2016, more than seven months ago.

“The parents we talk to are frustrated,” said Clint Paul, president and chief executive officer of Springfield-based Hope Institute. “They feel the state has turned their back on them and doesn’t care. If a child is not receiving services, there’s a very good likelihood that their child will regress.”

Scientific evidence is clear that early intervention can prevent or reduce the amount of special-education services needed once a child is in school and when those services may be less effective.

Early intervention can lead to less spending on welfare benefits and other societal expenses associated with educational failure in the long term, Hope officials said.

“This is a cost that will just compound as a child gets older,” said Corey Moore, supervisor of the Autism Clinic.
Link to the full State Journal-Register article

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