More Nova Scotian children living with autism have access to the support and services they need thanks to government's continued investment in their care.
The province released today, June 27, a one-year progress report on the Autism Spectrum Disorder Action Plan, and affirmed its investment of a further $2 million this year in the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program.
"We are committed to ensure that Nova Scotians living with autism receive the best possible treatment and support," said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. "This year's investment will ensure that by 2013, all eligible children with autism will have the option to receive Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention."
In April 2011, the province announced the Autism Spectrum Disorder Action Plan, a collaborative, interdepartmental response to lifespan needs of people with autism spectrum disorder. The plan included $4 million in new investments over two years to fully fund the intervention program.
In the past, only half of the children who needed the program received it, and were selected by a random draw. Now, nearly every pre-school-aged child in Nova Scotia who needs the program will have access.
"Over the past year, we have taken significant steps to provide more resources and support to people of all ages living with autism, and their families," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex. "We will continue to work with families and partners to put our plan into action and meet the needs of those on the autism spectrum."
The intervention program works to improve functional skills, including communication, social skills and behaviour, so children with autism can better interact with their families, classmates and community.
Patricia Gurney's sons, Michael, 3, and George, 6, are both enrolled in the program. She said the program has had a lasting impact on her family.
"Before, George was non-verbal," Mrs. Guerney said. "His support team slowly worked with text and pictures to help him develop language and, six months later, he spoke for the first time.
"I wasn't sure if he would be able to go to school, but EIBI gave him the foundation to be prepared and successful. His teachers are very happy with his progress. My husband and I are so thankful for this program."
Progress highlights include:
-- the Department of Education has hired a provincial autism consultant
-- school boards have maintained specialized staffing dedicated to supporting students with autism spectrum disorder
–- through the Department of Community Services, $1.3 million in new funding has been made available for the Independent Living Support and Alternative Family Support programs. This includes developing 40 new residential options for persons with disabilities
-- a $1.3-million investment will allow about 80 more families of children younger than 19 with disabilities to access Direct Family Support for Children funding.
-- the Department of Justice is developing online training related to autism spectrum disorder for law enforcement officials, in consultation with Autism Nova Scotia.
-- fifty 911 dispatchers have received training in Project Lifesaver, a search-and-rescue tracking system that makes it easier to find people with autism when they stray from their homes.
The progress report is available online at www.ednet.ns.ca
FOR BROADCAST USE:
More Nova Scotian children living with autism have access to
the support and services they need thanks to government's
continued investment in their care.
The province released its one-year progress report today
(June 27th) on the Autism Spectrum Disorder Action Plan.
Nova Scotia will invest a further 2-million-dollars this
year in Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention, a program that
helps children with autism with functional skills like
communication and social skills.
Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson says that by 2013,
all children with autism entering pre-school will have the option
to receive intervention.
The action plan, introduced in 2011, is an interdepartmental
response to the lifespan needs of people with Autism Spectrum
Disorder, and their families.
Media Contacts: Chad Lucas
Department of Education
Health and Wellness