NEED TO KNOW
All children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are eligible for funding.
For students between 6 and 18, families receive up to $6,000 from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).
The schools these students attend receive up to $17,000.
Funding is coordinated through the MCFD services, and can be used for a variety of services.
Funding – Autism Spectrum Disorder
1) How do I know if my child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
ASD requires a formal diagnosis. If you have concerns about your child, contact the BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN) or get a private assessment. Your family doctor will be able to point you in the right direction.
2) What funding is available?
If your child gets an ASD designation, you will be eligible for funding from the BC Ministry of Child and Family Services (MCFD). For children between ages of 6 and 18, the MCFD splits the funding between the family and the child’s school. Up to $6,000 is available directly to the family which can be used for therapy, equipment etc. This is the list of eligible services. Some or all of this funding can be used to pay BrainBoost for services that we arrange when we set up your plan.
Your school district will receive up to $17,000 to cover the cost of supporting a student with ASD. In exceptional circumstances, some of this money can be released to pay for BrainBoost services. Get in touch with your coach if you feel this may apply to you. The Vancouver School Board makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis.
3) How can I access this money?
The $6,000 can be accessed by completing this form and the MCFD will be in touch with you. Again, your family doctor and/or your Autism assessor will be able to help you gather the documents needed. To access the support through the school districts, your child will need an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This will be conducted by the Special Needs Coordinator of your child’s home school. The IEP is a document that contains the steps needed for your child to have success in school. It contains information on individualized goals for your child, the means to achieve these goals, the additional services your child can receive, and more. You should be consulted about the creation of your child’s IEP.
If your child is working in a regular school (for example, Lord Byng in the Vancouver School District) then the entire school funding is allocated to that school. However, if your child is working in a Distributed Learning school, then a certain amount of this money may be released to BrainBoost to help us deliver services that are required to meet your child’s IEP requirements.
4) What are the challenges with accessing funding?
There are funding issues that come up when a student with ASD enrols in Distance Learning (DL). If the student enrols with only one DL school, then that school board is allocated the funding from the government. They then take responsibility for creating the IEP, providing support and communicating with you. Students in grades K-9 can only register with one school district.
For students with ASD in grades 10-12, it is possible for them to take courses at different DL schools in different districts. However, one district will take responsibility for IEP creation, support and communication. They will also receive the funding. This technically allows students with ASD to have the same flexibility in the education as other students. However, in reality there are many complications in asking a Special Needs Coordinator in one district to coordinate services provided by a teacher from a different district. As such, your DL home school will likely prefer for you to have your child work with them for the majority of their courses in order to simplify the situation. Speak to your coach at BrainBoost if you have problems or questions relating to this.
Want to have a talk?
When working with students with ASD, we like to have a consultation in order to set up a plan that meets their needs. We can help you navigate the funding and Distributed Learning minefield. We can also provide a variety of services that are covered by the family funding, from academic tutoring to social support and physical exercise.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
You can also check out these links to help get a better sense of the ASD funding situation:
The BC Ministry of Education’s Special Education Policy as applicable to students with ASD (pages 84-89)
An appendix from the Ministry of Education regarding their policies relating to Distance (Distributed) Learning and Special Needs (pages 27-30).
There are also many other blogs and sites to help you get financially supported, such as this one http://asdfunding.com/.
It is important to know that BrainBoost does not have the expertise to offer any official financial advice, but we are always willing to help you navigate the sometimes murky world of ASD funding!