Autism is a debilitating mental disease with a few disturbing trends.
1/ it’s cause is found to be 2% genetic.
2/ the remaining 98% is unknown but believed to be environmental
3/ there is no known cure but there is treatment that can make the disease manageable in most
4/ those with autism can live a full normal lifespan
5/ one in 100 children born have autism the large percentage of that boys
6/ in the last 20 years autism cases have increased by over 60%
It can be treated and those who suffer it can live as long as a normal person.
This means that if someone has the disease and is not treated they can require constant care 24/hrs a day for as much as 70-80 years. This care would require a person trained to deal specifically with autistic patients and each carer can only deal with one person at any one time.
With treatment many of these individuals can lead lives that are close to normal and in some cases can be extremely productive. Two examples of extremely productive Autistic individuals are Albert Einstein and Temple Grandin (an animal treatment expert and public speaker). It is also believed that many comedians are either autistic or ADHD though one of the best examples who I believe is closest to autism is Adam Sandler.
So with treatment we know they can be productive and in some cases extremely productive. And yet almost all governments prefer to ignore these individuals and their disease with very few providing sufficient resources to properly treat this disease.
Treatment of Autism is done through a program called ABA therapy. A one on one behavioural therapy that in some cases can result in those treated being able to function almost fully in society.
1/ All autistic children have access to 4 hours a day of ABA training through to kindergarten.
2/ All autistic children have access to 1-2 hours a day of ABA training through all school years until graduation either from high school or university as part of their standard school day.
3/ All autistic children should be taught in school using ABA methods by ABA trained TA’s as this is proven to improve their learning ability
4/ The creation of both an Adult care facility and a Youth care facility be built in Fredericton in conjunction with the Stan Cassidy Center which will care for those Autistic individuals who can no longer be cared for by the normal caregivers of these individuals. This care should focus on multiple facets but should include ABA training to create the possibility that even adults could potentially be helped by ABA be given that opportunity.
5/ All autistic individuals even after graduation should have access to ABA training for short term or long term if there ability to function properly in society diminishes or disappears for any reason.
6/ An attempt to find a further cure and treatment options should be continued through partnership with the Universities in this province, The Stan Cassidy centre and the Federal government
7/ As it has been determined by various parents of autistic children that not in all situations does full integration work with ALL autistic children, A program should be put in place that would allow parents and resource workers as well as TA’s to work together to create a modified part time integrated program that would better meet the needs of the individual student if the situation warrants this.
8/ changes to the disability benefit to allow staggering levels of benefit that recognizes the level of care required as well as the requirements to replace property increasingly due to high increase in breakage due to rocking behaviours etc common amongst autistic children.
9/ Summer autism camps during school breaks should be made available to allow children the ability to socialize with those like themselves amongst trained carers.
It should be realized that both the Liberals and Conservatives were made aware as far back as 2005 of the necessity of a Care Facility in this province when it was made public during the Conservative years of that time that we were being forced to send those individuals with autism that required long term care to Maine to be housed there as we had no facilities in this province. The conservatives of the time had no interest in developing a treatment center.
During this period the Liberals were vocal in their disapproval of the fact our citizens were being cared for out of country due to no facilities in this province however their dedication to this file was shown during the recent 4 years when no attempt at creating a long term care facility was done regardless of repeated requests.
John Foran was aware of a case in 2005 where a youth was housed at the Miramichi Youth Centre under the direct care of 2 carers from a private company at the cost of 700$ a day because we did not have the facilities in this province to properly house him and from there he was transferred to Maine because the Conservatives would not address this lack of facility.
And yet during the entire 4 year mandate of the liberals not one thing was done to change this lack of care centres either.
PANB is the only party that will push for a drastic improvement to how these autistic individuals in our care are treated.