New autism foundation will focus on advocacy

James
James McLeod
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Autism will have a new voice in the Jake Knox Autism Foundation, which was legally registered recently.

The foundation is the brainchild of Ed Knox, who named it after his six-year-old son Jake, who has autism.

Autism will have a new voice in the Jake Knox Autism Foundation, which was legally registered recently.

The foundation is the brainchild of Ed Knox, who named it after his six-year-old son Jake, who has autism.

Knox said his primary purpose in setting up the foundation is to push for better support for families with autistic children.

"We all know that the autism society is a little bit restricted in being able to advocate in the way they want because of the funding they receive from the government," Knox said. "I want to be more of a voice not having to worry about any funding obligations or whatever."

The foundation, Knox said, provides the legal backing for that.

This is not Knox's first foray into activism.

In March he sat down with The Telegram to talk about gaps in the education system for autistic children.

In May, he took his message to Confederation Building, organizing a demonstration in the parking lot on Prince Phillip Drive.

Knox said he had a meeting with Health Minister Jerome Kennedy recently to discuss his concerns.

Specifically, Knox said the government funding for applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy. Currently, the government pays for 30 hours of therapy per week for children, but that trails off to 15 hours in kindergarten and down to zero when the child reaches Grade 1.

Knox said that there should be more funding for one-on-one therapy, and it should continue further until the children are older.

Similarly, he said the wait lists for speech therapists and occupational therapists are too long, taking education away from children during a critical development stage.

Knox said he's focusing right now on bringing in more parents of autistic children for the new foundation.

In the long run, he said he's thinking about other things, such as support groups for parents of autistic children, and fundraising to bring in experts to speak on autistic issues.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Jake Knox Autism Foundation, ABA

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