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Autism Society Endorses Liberal Party Autism Platform

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:32am

The following statement has been released by Lila Barry, President 
of the Autism Society New Brunswick:

Let me say, Autism Society New Brunswick is a non-partisan,
non-profit volunteer organization and our mission is to advocate
for best quality services for persons with autism within the
Province of New Brunswick.

We have asked all parties to present their platform specific to
autism.To date, Sept. 12, we have received no reply from the New
Democratic Party. There are over 4000 persons living with autism
in NB. It is the belief of the autism community that such an
important issue must be addressed by all parties prior to the
election.

ASNB acknowledges the positive steps of the Progressive
Conservative Party have undertaken thus far. For these efforts
we are grateful. The progressive conservative government
implemented therapy services for children under age 6, provided
training for autism support workers, provided funding for a
specialized autism team at the Stan Cassidy Centre, and is presently
training 89 Teacher Assisatants and Method and Resource Teachers
at UNB-CEL. These are all excellent starts, a good beginning.

The Progressive Conservative Party is committed to:

1)implementing the recommendation of the Wayne MacKay Report
2) more training for Autism Workers/Clinical Supervisors
3) investment in Assitive Technology
4)more training for Teacher Assistants outside of instructional hours
5) work with Autism Society

First, the autism society has serious reservations in the Wayne Mackay
Report specific to autism. The report recommends the development of a
provincial autism strategy to report back in 2 years with a further
year to study alternatives. Thus we are looking 4-5 years before kick
starting MacKay's recommendation. Our children can not wait 5 years for a
meaniful,quality education. Secondly, we embrace more training for autism
support workers, and clinical supervisors. However, we need specific
information to numbers to be trained and a time frame. Thirdly, training
teacher assistants outside of instructional hours. We have serious concerns.
There is no reference to the nationally recognized autism intervention
program, UNB-CEL. Again we require a commitment to numbers, time frame and
specific training. Fourth, there is no mention of developing a strategic
plan for adult services, specific to adult residential care.

ASNB has received the following commitment from the liberal party.

1) Funding for existing autism therapy programs for children under the
age of 6 will continue

2) An additional 2.5 million dollars yearly have been set aside to
expand upon autism services.

3)1 million of the 2.5 million will target training 400 teacher
assisants and method and resource teachers at a training rate of 100 per
year over four years at UNB-CEL

4) remaining 1.5 million to attack specific issues as increase therapy
funding for young children, training through UNB-CEL, and

5) the deveoplment of a long term service plans for autistic adults
including residential care

6) ASNB will be a full member in the development of autism strategies.

We are encouraged, seeing this as a very positive direction. ASNB
views the liberal platform very favorably.


Respectfully,

Lila Barry, President
Autism Society New Brunswick
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