Sunday, August 31, 2014

Severely Autistic NB Youths & Adults Need Special Treatment & Residential Care After Age 16

From: luigi.rocca

Date: 07/08/05 09:32:22

Cc: abowie2408; dav.lin; deversandy; hammelhome; hchamb; lbrry; nancybl; yolandep

Subject: Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation

 Dear Minister Robichaud:

It has come to our attention that officials at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation have unilaterally decided to stop accepting referrals of pediatric patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our understanding is that currently 20% of the pediatric referrals to Stan Cassidy are for those with ASD. 

Needless to say, if this decision is allowed to stand, it would be a devastating development for those families that rely on this centre for services such as speech and occupational therapy. These families would be left without services in some cases and forced to fend for themselves. It would also leave a hole in an already insufficient network of services for individuals with ASD.

We find it unacceptable that the Autism community was not consulted on this decision. We request that this decision be reversed until such time as we in the Autism Community have had an opportunity to make the case that this decision will unduly punish many individuals who rely on the treatment they receive at the Centre.

I would respectfully request an immediate meeting with members of the Autism Community including representatives from the Autism Society of New Brunswick to discuss this matter.

Your prompt attention to this issue would be greatly appreciated.


Luigi Rocca President
Autism Society of New Brunswick

In New Brunswick parents facing the realities of autism disorders grouped together, at times under the name FACE (Family Autism Centre for Education) and most often under the name Autism Society New Brunswick (ASNB) to advocate successfully for evidence based autism services.   One substantial accomplishment of NB's parent advocacy movement, which began with the letter above from then ASNB President Luigi Rocca, was the revival of the autism team at the Stan Cassidy Centre.  This facility provides a range of services needed by many autistic children and youths with complex autism disorders and associated conditions.  

An extension of the Stan Cassidy model of treatment, from its cut off at age 16 to the adult level and an expansion to include permanent residential care are what is needed for severely autistic adults in NB.

Will it happen? 

As previously noted by former Bernard Lord cabinet minister Tony Huntjens, costs actually favor such a facility and the need is real.  For years we have been sending severely autistic adults to a facility not designed for their needs at the Restigouche Psychiatric Hospital and to expensive facilities outside New Brunswick.  An adult care facility would end the discrimination against severely autistic adults, reduce costs for their care, bring them closer to families, provide employment for NB'ers and expand NB's status as a leader in autism service delivery.  It should happen and NB has seen the right thing done for early intervention autism services and autism trained TA's.  


Province to fund dedicated autism team at Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation (06/08/17)

NB 1149

Aug. 17, 2006

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government has approved a proposal from River Valley Health for ongoing funding to establish a dedicated team at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation to provide services to children with autism, Health Minister Brad Green announced today.

"The creation of an interdisciplinary team of health-care professionals with a specific mandate to serve children experiencing severe autism symptoms was recommended by a provincial working group that included community representatives," Green said. "I am very pleased to announce that annual funding beginning at $350,000 will be provided by government to support this specialized team."

Green said government recognizes that the provision of services to children with complex autistic spectrum disorders requires the specialized expertise of a team of care providers.

"The specialized team will comprise one full-time professional with specific autistic spectrum disorder expertise in each of the following: developmental psychology, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, dietetics, and applied behavioural analysis," Green said.

The team will offer functional assessments as well as design, model and perform interventions for children who have the most complex forms of autistic spectrum disorders. It will work closely with families, pediatricians, extramural and hospital-based therapists, educators and all autism support groups to ensure that services are well integrated. Part of the team's mandate will include education, consultation and support to health-care professionals in the province.

"We are very pleased by this decision, and look forward to making a significant contribution to the well-being of children faced with the challenges of autism," said Dr. Ron Harris, administrative director of the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation. "The presence of a dedicated team with the highly specialized skills needed to address the challenges is a great step forward for New Brunswick."

Green said that funding for the team is over and above the $2.8 million the provincial government has been investing annually since 2003 to provide services for preschoolers with autistic spectrum disorders.

The Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation is the only facility in the province with teams of highly specialized health-care professionals and the equipment and technology required to treat patients with complex neurological disorders.

The new Stan Cassidy Centre is located beside the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, and opened in June. It was built at a cost of $28 million.


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