“Please don’t let Kathleen Wynne leave behind a generation of children.”

Laura Donkers, mother of six-year-old child with autism

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2016


QUEEN’S PARK – Today in the Legislature Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford, the government not to give up on kids with autism, like Oxford’s Lawson Donkers, just because they are six years old.

“Every child in Ontario deserves an opportunity to succeed,” said Hardeman during his statement. “No parent should have to hear that the government has given up on their child, but that’s what parents like Laura Donkers have been told.”

Laura and Steve Donkers, parents of a six-year old with autism, were at the Legislature for the statement. Their son, Lawson, started Intensive Behaviour Intervention Therapy (IBI) four months ago but they have been told by the government that the treatment will be ending because of Lawson’s age.

“I waited 6 years for him to call me mom. Do you know what it’s like to wonder if your child knows who you are and your name? I do. Now Kathleen wants to take that away from us. That’s not right,” said Laura Donkers.

The government recently announced that they are children aged five and older will no longer be eligible for IBI and are being removed from the provincial waitlist.

The government website states: “Your child will remain on the IBI waitlist until they turn five. If an IBI space becomes available before your child turns five, they can receive IBI. Once your child turns five, your child will be removed from the IBI waitlist.”

“The government should not be giving up on children just because they are 6 years old. Especially those who have spent years on the wait list,” said Hardeman.

Already, even though he was six when he started IBI, Lawson has learned to wash his hands, how to dress and is learning how to use the toilet. Imagine how much he could learn in the two years of therapy his parents were promised.

“The government has chosen to cut off services for kids like Lawson just because of their age, but the need for help doesn’t stop at age six,” said Hardeman. “I am asking the government to give Lawson and all children like him a chance – give them the IBI therapy that they need.”

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For more information, contact:

Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford

(416) 325-1239