NDP Leader Dominic Cardy at the NDP 2014 Election Platform launch today at their campaign HQ's on Regent St. As with each political party platform I immediately search out autism specific commitments or comments and the NDP have made a specific comment in a very neglected area in NB - adult autism care:
We will establish a provincial centre for the care of adults with autism.
A provincial centre for the care of adults with autism would fill a huge gap in our autism services in New Brunswick. At present adults with autism at best can hope for care in a Level 4 group home where they may encounter difficulties with untrained staff who can not deal properly with the complex challenges of autism care. The commitment to a centre while a huge step forward in the public discussion of autism care being the first serious mention of an adult centre for autistic adults does not indicate the quality of care to be provided eg. autism trained staff, autism appropriate professional oversight including medical attention for frequent comorbid conditions such as seizures, serious self aggression, wandering and security issues and adult education and recreation. Nor does it address the always contentious issue ... the undeniable reality that some severely autistic adults will require permanent residential care and treatment. The commitment however is a major step forward and it is difficult to expect more specifics in an election platform covering all aspects of life in the province of New Brunswick.
I enjoyed meeting and talking with Brian Duplessis, below, the NDP candidate in the riding of Fredericton North where I live. The fact is most politicians or workers in political organizations have little real world experience with autism, fewer still with severe autism with intellectual disability a huge component of the autism spectrum. Brian Duplessis however, has a family member with severe autism and he was already fully informed about the challenges facing persons with severe autism including adults and their families. It was refreshing to discuss autism challenges with someone with close personal knowledge of those challenges.