Premier Graham's first throne speech today contained good news for students with autism in New Brunswick schools. During the election campaign Mr. Graham made a very specific promise to provide autism training at UNB-CEL autism intervention program to 100 TA's and Resource teachers. The wait for confirmation of that commitment has been nerve racking but the Throne Speech contains good news in the form of a plan which will be announced this session to increase the number of trained autism support workers in the system. This is of course a very general statement but it means a lot to have such a commitment made in the throne speech. Parents will remain vigilant. We have no choice, we have been let down before and our children can not afford more setbacks on their learning journeys. But today is a good day for New Brunswick school students with autism - a very good day.
"Your government earned the trust of New Brunswickers by outlining the Charter for Change which will form the basis for many of the initiatives that will be introduced in the coming months. The cornerstones of the Charter for Change are the Three Es – education, energy and economic development.
Your government will work with New Brunswick's teachers, District Education Councils and academic institutions to build the best education system in Canada. This year, your government will release a new Plan for Education. The Minister of Education has been consulting with teachers, District Education Councils, parents and students on this action plan of new ideas and programs to begin transforming our schools.
This year, your government will begin its commitment to implement the MacKay Report recommendations for improving our inclusive education system and meeting the diverse needs of all our students . The Minister of Education will appear before the Standing Committee on Education in order to initiate the discussion on how to ensure that each child in New Brunswick has the chance to reach his or her full potential.
Your government will further demonstrate its commitment to inclusive education by ensuring that new hope is given to children with autism. A plan will be announced this session to increase the number of trained autism support workers in the system.
Your government understands the importance of a school to the community around it. Your government will move forward on a new community schools policy that will enhance the quality of education in rural and urban communities alike by transforming schools into true centres of learning for the whole community.
Truly innovative change will be driven by teachers and your government will announce new measures to support our best teachers and principals in being leaders in innovative education.
During the upcoming session, your government will unveil a new accountability agenda for improving results for early literacy and exceptional learners.
The Departments of Education and Family and Community Services will work jointly and in partnership with stakeholders to develop a long-term plan for child care and early learning."