Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Autism Rising in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Telegram, St. John's Newfoundland, reports in Autism on the rise that a new, as yet unpublished, study by Queen's University says Newfoundland and Labrador has higher-than-normal rates of autism. Newfoundland Health Department officials have taken part and seen the study findings which, according to Health Minister Ross Wiseman, "suggest that the incidence in this province would be higher than in other jurisdictions, and that's obviously something that has gotten our attention."

The article goes on to report the same issue that some provinces, including New Brunswick, have already come to grips with is still a problem in Newfoundland and Labrador - the continuation of ABA services for autistic children in the school system. The truth is that ABA can be used in schools. My son has received ABA instruction here in Fredericton, New Brunswick for the past 4 years. New Brunswick to its credit has taken a focused, practical approach to providing ABA training in school environments. Teacher aides and resource teachers have been, and are being, trained at the University of New Brunswick - College of Extended Learning Autism Intervention Training Program. The location of instruction is evidence based. My son receives Discrete Trial based ABA in a quiet environment outside the classroom - at out request. He enters common areas for engagement in other activities according to his ability to handle the task involved and the location.

Newfoundland and Labrador should consider various models in trying to solve their "ABA in the schools" issues. But they should not fail to consider what their fellow Atlantic Province of New Brunswick has been doing right for a few years now.

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