Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Great Day at the Autism Society NB AGM

The ASNB AGM was held yesterday and it was a great day!

Andy Scott was our guest speaker and he filled us in on the National Autism Strategy and his private member's motion scheduled to be debated in Parliament on October 27, 2006. With his expertise in federal government, his speaking skills and his passion for the autism cause it made for an outstanding presentation. Many thanks to Andy Scott and his communications officer Andrew Holland who also attended. Andy also brought with him two students from the Leo Hayes High School political science class that has been assisting Andy on the National Autism Strategy last year, and with new students, this year. These young people have done a lot of hard work on behalf of the NAS including extensive letter writing campaigns. I met with the first group in the class last year and they are well informed about autism and public policy making. It is very heartening to see young people so actively involved.

There were some changes on the ASNB Board. Long time ASNB board member Jason Oldford did not reoffer this year. Jason has been a key part of ASNB and the autism community in New Brunswick for several years.

ASNB accomplishments and activities over the past year were reviewed. These included:

1) Autism specific training of 80 Teacher Assistants and 9 Methods and Resource Teachers at UNB-CEL which is currently ongoing;

2) A commitment from the new Liberal government to train a further 100 TA's and M&R teachers per year for the next 4 years;

3) Obtaining a commitment from the government to provide funding for a dedicated autism team at the
Stan Cassidy Provincial Tertiary Neurological Rehabilitation Centre. The services provided at the Stan Cassidy are extremely important and include working with extremely challenging problems, even life threatening problems, presented by autistic persons. It had been announced that such services would be discontinued and would no longer be provided by the Stan Cassidy. The decision to fund a new team dedicated specifically to autism at the Stan Cassidy is a huge development that will enhance the health and well being of many persons with autism;

4) Bringing to public attention the plight of a young autistic person who had been placed in residence on the grounds of the Miramichi Youth Facility, launching a complaint with the Ombudsman in respect of that decision, meeting with then Minister of Family and Community Services Minister in respect of that decision and opening discussions on long term youth and adult residential care services for autistic persons with the Minister of Family and Community Services;

5) Working with Andy Scott in the development of a National Autism Strategy;

6) Providing autism advocacy assistance to parents and families in various communites around the province;

7) Expanding ASNB
presence in the francophone autism community in New Brunswick;

8) Creation and airing of an autism awareness commercial running during October on ATV;

9) Purchasing books on evidence based interventions for autism for distribution to community autism centres, autism intervention agencies and the NB Public Library System.

The Autism Society New Brunswick is the provincial voice for the autism community in NB. It is a volunteer based organization and it is not financed by government. This allows ASNB to speak frankly to government in our discussions about autism and the issues and conditions affecting autistic persons in New Brunswick. If you are interested in becoming involved do not hesitate to contact me at my email address for this blog site or contact the ASNB web site at http://www.autismnb.org/ for email and telephone contact coordinates.

Harold Doherty

1 comment:

Lisa R said...

Sounds like it was a good meeting
:) A friend of mine mentioned that there was a news clip on CBC today regarding autism, but I missed it.