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2019 JUNO nominees to march in protest of changes to Ontario Autism Program

2019 JUNO nominees to march in protest of changes to Ontario Autism Program
Protesting changes to the Ontario Autism Program (Photo: Twitter)

We received this press release earlier from our friends at Webster Media Consulting. Obviously nothing to do with Canadian hip-hop, but an issue impacting a lot of people in the Canadian hip-hop community.

Splash’N Boots are popular children’s entertainers based in Ontario who are nominated for Children’s Album of the Year at the 2019 JUNO Awards. They’ll be marching alongside kids and parents to protest recent changes to the Ontario Autism Program.

The protest will take place Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Queen’s Park in Toronto. There’s still plenty of time for members of the hip-hop community to get involved. Here’s the press release that was issued.

2019 JUNO nominees to march in protest of changes to Ontario Autism Program

2019 JUNO nominees Splash’N Boots

Splash’N Boots to march with children and families at Queen’s Park in protest of surprise one-size-fits-all changes to the Ontario Autism Program


Popular Ontario children’s entertainers and 2019 JUNO nominees Splash’N Boots (Nick Adams and Taes Leavitt, respectively) have formally announced they intend to march alongside children and families on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Queen’s Park in Toronto in protest of the recent changes to the Ontario Autism Program. [Facebook event here:]

“We support the children and families affected by the Ontario government’s cuts to autism funding in Ontario. The recent announcement of changes to the Ontario Autism Program leaves families on the hook for more money for costly treatment for their children beginning April 1, in less than two months time. The one-size-fits-all approach of the new program that allocates the same amount of standard funding to children whose autism is mild to those who are in need of intense Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is ineffective and will put direct financial strain on families and education providers in Ontario. We ask that the government unfreeze the waitlist and resume services as before while consultation for a more effective solution for autism funding in Ontario can be defined.”

Currently, the state of support for children with autism who require therapy services is largely unregulated. The government needs to look at building a strong regulated foundation for these services, including drafting codes of conduct, standardized rates, and professional standards of practice. Using the U.S. insurance industry as a model (who have already begun to standardize costs for autism therapies), these standard rates could help streamline the fluctuating fees in Ontario. Creating secure funding opportunities for those working in education who are working with autistic children to have Applied Behavior Analysis as part of their core competencies should also be considered and implemented.

Families affected by autism are often faced with changing their entire lives to be able to afford care and therapy for their children and therefore need a full picture solution for the infrastructure of care for their children. This includes help from the government to subsidize and fund therapy as well as regulating the care industry directly working with those in need.

Splash’N Boots’ Yellow and Blue Crew (the name given to the families and fans of the music group) includes many children on the autistic spectrum. The group sets up personalized meet and greets for all children on the spectrum and their families. In 2016, they launched and supported a penpal club for kids with autism called Lucas’ Letters, imagined by one of their forever fans called Lucas. They work with families to create special visits for autistic children who may not be able to come to participate in the live show environment. This week they performed for kids at the St. Ursula Elementary school in Brampton, Ontario. The classroom of six autistic kids reacted enthusiastically to the time spent with them.

Autism cannot simply be an item to be dealt with on a budget line. These are real people that we meet every week. Each of these children deserves the right to specialized treatment. We have seen firsthand what happens when they are given the support that they need to reach their full potential.”

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