Jacob's had a pretty good few days since his return to school from the Christmas Holidays. Shannon and I have a calendar in our hallway and if Jacob has a good day at school he'll received 2 stickers. One for the morning and one for the afternoon. Out of a possible 6 stickers he could have received this week, he has 4. That's great for us, but unfortunately, today he had to come home early because he had a cramp in his shoulder. Jacob says that I am the one to blame of course. When we got home, Jacob said "If we play tag again, I'll get a cramp. Thanks to you, now I have a dead muscle!" I'm not sure how it's my fault, but I'm sure he has reasons, ones that he won't share with me.
Before the school called, I was going through Autism Ontario's most recent e-newsletter. In the news letter there was an article about how Autism Ontario had taken part in the Government of Canada's RDSP Review consultations. Further in that article, was a list of proposed changes to the RDSP, that Autism Ontario made to the Government of Canada, at that meeting on November 29, 2011, in Toronto. The proposed changes that were listed, about 10 in all, ranged in a variety of areas within receiving and using the RDSP funds and also included a request for better access to funds and help completing the proper forms.
The point that caught my eye first, was one that would allow any RESP monies accumulated for a child with ASD, or any other disability, to be transferred into an RDSP if the child doesn't go on to receive a post secondary education. Since our son was about 6 months old, we've been saving for his education. Many people with ASD go on to receive post secondary education, especially those that are high functioning. Both my wife and I are lifelong learners and Jacob could be just like us. But he might not. What if Jacob doesn't want a degree? It would be nice to keep that grant money and accumulated interest simply by switching the funds to an RDSP that Jacob can use later in life.
Another point of interest, is the proposed change to wait times before you can withdraw funds from the RDSP without penalty. Right now, as it stands, you have to wait 10 years from the date of the last contribution made to make a withdrawal without penalty. When you consider the amount of government contributions a person with an RDSP can get, it's no wonder they apply such stiff penalties for making an early withdrawal. Many people however, including me, feel this is too long and should be more in the 5-7 year range. 10 years can be a long time to wait, especially when my son's ASD challenges change from day to day.
A final point of note is one that speaks to those of us that are affected by an ASD. Autism Ontario made note that as parents of a child with an ASD, we can expect to pay an extra $50,000 towards raising our child over the course of their lifetime. When you factor in associated health care and education costs, as well as other variable social expenses, it might be difficult for a family to have extra funds to deposit into an RDSP. Especially when those funds can't be accessed right away. We know this to be true. It would be very difficult for us to put $1500 a year into an RDSP for our 7 year old son. That's why we fell that RESP to RDSP rollover, would be a great change to the RDSP.
To wrap up, we feel that Autism Ontario is fantastic and we are lucky to have such a great organisation here. For now we'll just keep on saving for Jacob's education. If he goes to college or university, it'll be great. If he doesn't go, then that would be great too. We'd just like to be able to have the choice to use our money alternatively, possibly in an RDSP.
WELCOME TO JIM'S AUTISM BLOG
Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.
"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980