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.
Lila Barry, President Autism Society New Brunswick