Shawn Graham & Andy Scott with autistic children and parents at the
autism intervention and community centres in Fredericton in 2007
Canada News Service reports that NB Liberal leader Shawn Graham will announce his resignation this morning. As a father of a son with Autistic Disorder, and an autism advocate for over 10 years, I will regret his departure. Shawn Graham while official leader of the opposition, and then as Premier of New Brunswick, helped New Brunswick become as stated by David Celiberti, president of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, a leader in provision of autism services. Premier Lord had begun the early intervention program for delivery of evidence based autism treatment to NB preschoolers and had begun the training of teacher aides at the excellent UNB-CEL Autism Intervention Training program but Shawn Graham was active in pushing for these programs and in expanding them very significantly. The people of NB said goodbye to him as Premier and today he is expected to leave.
There are as yet no signs that Shawn Graham's commitment to evidence based intervention, treatment and education for autistic preschoolers and students in NB, in learning environments which accommodate their individual best interests, will be carried on by Premier Alward. To the contrary Premier Alward, and his cabinet ministers, are heavily influenced by the feel good philosophy of community living icon Gordon Porter, a member of Premier Alward's five man transition advisory team, who has been openly hostile to autism representatives advocating modern evidence based approaches to educating autistic students. Hopefully the gains made for autistic preschoolers and students during Shawn Graham's term as Premier will not be thrown away during the next four years.