Friday, May 29, 2015

Historic Discussion of Adult Autism Care and Treatment in the New Brunswick Legislature May 28, 2015

Autism Advocacy in front of the New Brunswick Legislature, autistic persons, family and friends gather with MLA Ernie Steeves to advocate for Adult Autism Care and Treatment

It was an historic day at the New Brunswick Legislature yesterday as discussion and debate began on issues of adult autism care and treatment for the FIRST time to my knowledge that has happened. Opposition MLA Ernie Steeves pictured above in the white shirt and blue tie filed the motion and led the discussion.  Mr Steeves presentation was excellent, well informed and put the issues of adult care and treatment on the NB Legislature records.  The Government response by Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers did not really address the issues although in fairness to Minister Rogers she did ask me for a meeting to discuss the issues presented by Mr. Steeves.  The Opposition reply to Minister Rogers was delivered by MLA Jake Stewart who had previously taken up the issue of adult autism in a very meaningful way by advocating successfully for a young autistic adult in his riding who was on the verge of being evicted from his special care home because he was turning 19.  Mr Stewart's reply was also very passionate, well informed and was important to ensure that the discussion stayed on topic. The discussions started late in the afternoon 5:00 pm and will continue on another day. A note that some may find particularly interesting: two autistic persons were present in the legislature during the discussions; (1)  Ricky Barry shown with the ball cap holding the sign and standing beside Mr. Steeves in the picture above and (2) young Cameron  brought in to the legislature later by his mother. 

Above MLA Ernie Steeves who filed  and led the Opposition Motion on Adult Autism Care and Treatment Services and autism advocate Cynthia Bartlett 

Government MLA Brian Kenny with Autism Advocate Harold L Doherty
MLA Kenny was very supportive

Above MLA Trevor Holder (L) and (R)  Prominent Human Rights and Disability Advocate  Randy Dickinson who, among things,  serves as NB Human Rights Commission Chairperson and Fredericton City Councillor and  formerly served as  Executive Director  of the Premier's Council on Status of Disabled  Persons.  Mr. Dickinson came to the Legislature to exxpress his support for the need for adult autism care and treatment. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Adult Autism Center Information Protest At The Legislature May 28 at 1:30

Autism Advocacy NB Event:  Adult Autism Center Information Protest

Where: NB Legislature Grounds, Fredericton

When: Thursday, May 28 at 1:30

Who: Anyone who wishes to advocate for an adult autism center as the first step in building a comprehensive adult autism care and treatment network with locations in communities around the Province of New Brunswick.

Suggestions: Bring a sign stating "Adult Autism Center Badly Needed" or some variation according to your own preference.

Demeanor: Polite, Courteous with a view to informing NB MLAs of the need for a NB autism center to provide treatment and residential care to NB autistic adults in need as described by Paul McDonnell way back in 2010:

""Our greatest need at present is to develop services for adolescents and adults," McDonnell writes.
"What is needed is a range of residential and non-residential services and these services need to be staffed with behaviourally trained supervisors and therapists."
"In the past we have had the sad spectacle of individuals with autism being sent off to institutional settings such as the Campbellton psychiatric hospital, hospital wards, prisons, and even out of the country at enormous expense and without any gains to the individual, the family or the community
Among the reforms that the UNB professor is calling for is an enhanced group home system where homes would be connected to a major centre that would develop ongoing training and leadership.
The larger centre could also offer services for people who have mild conditions. But, he said, it could also be used to offer permanent residential care for individuals with more severe diagnoses.
"Such a secure centre would not be based on a traditional 'hospital' model but should, itself, be integrated into the community in a dynamic manner, possibly as part of a private residential development," he writes.
"The focus must be on education, positive living experiences and individualized curricula. The key to success is properly trained professionals and staff."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

REMINDER: Autism Society New Brunswick Meeting This Saturday 1:00 Room 303 Tilley Hall UNB Fredericton

REMINDER of ASNB meeting THIS Saturday At 1 PM.

 ASNB family ADVOCACY is responsible for the early intervention program recognized as an evidence based North American model.

Our efforts also led to several hundred autism trained TA's in the school system and for keeping the Stan Cassidy autism team operating after it had been closed.

We did these things without public funding, without paying ourselves salaries.

We operated totally arms length from government and we were and are transparent.

Join us Saturday as we continue the fight for ADULT autism services, treatment and care for those on all points on the autism spectrum. See you there!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Conor Enjoyed Nature With An Osprey Day In His "Back Yard" The North Riverfront Trail, Fredericton

Conor embraced his right to enjoy nature a couple of times today (so far) with fun walking and running in his "back yard" Fredericton's North Riverfront Trail. He also took time to throw some rocks into the St. John River along the way and check out the neighbors, the Osprey family, as they prepared their nest for some new arrivals. It may not be an evidence based treatment for autism but getting outdoors in nature makes his Dad feel much better and I believe it helps Conor too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Autism and Epilepsy from Facebook to Reality: Conor Experiences Another Seizure

UPDATE: I had originally indicated the the persons with Conor when he had his seizure 2 days ago had not seen convulsions.  That is what I was told when I arrived.  Yesterday though I received the notes of the education aide who was with him throughout the seizure and they indicate he was convulsing for several minutes, in other words a classic tonic-clonic seizure including fall and  convulsions.

Earlier today I posted to my Facebook page and to the Autism Society New Brunswick FB page the link to Tonic-clonic seizures at  I included the note that it was important for persons with autism to be aware of such seizures because of the high number of person who suffer from epileptic seizures including my autistic son.  A few hours later I got a call from the Leo Hayes High School and was informed that Conor had suffered a seizure. They did not think it was Tonic-Clonic although he had fallen and lost consciousness.  When I arrived he was being attended to and was sitting in a wheelchair.  He was groggy with very limited speech and needed assistance getting into the car for transportation home in the Dad-Mobile.  He was tired at home and I insisted he stay on the couch for awhile and rest.   Dad and Mom proceeded to provide the sure fire Spoil Em Rotten Recovery Treatment including supper from Papa John Pizza.

From Facebook to Reality in a Flash.  It can happen.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gallant Government Builds Centre for Youth With Complex Needs In Campbellton Far From Most NB Families

I understand former Youth Advocate Bernard Richard's outrage over the Gallant government's announcement that it will build a new centre for youth with complex needs in Campbellton. I have long criticized New Brunswick governments for sending NB adults with severe autism disorders out of the province to Spurwink Maine and to the north in Campbelton on NB's northern border with Quebec far from the vast majority of NB families in the South and from the autism expertise that has been developing in Fredericton. .   Apparently the youth complex needs group had also recommended sites in the south closer to families. I understand Mr Richard, I understand.