The backlog of autistic children waiting for crucial therapy in Ontario is growing and in some cases leaving parents to pick up the tab for costly treatment, critics said yesterday.

As of March 31, there were 1,513 children waiting for treatment, an increase over the previous quarter and a trend that autism advocates say shows the government’s strategy isn’t working.

“The situation continues to get worse and worse, and our elected officials continue to do nothing about it,” said Sharon Aschaiek of the advocacy group Autism Resolution Ontario.

“We do have to shell out $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year or more to pay for sufficient therapy for our children — and let’s be realistic, that’s a cost that most families can’t meet, so as a result our children regress in their skills.”

The NDP?has warned the situation will get worse if the government does not change course on its plan.