EDMUNDSTON (GNB) – A new community autism centre will be established in Edmundston.

“Your government understands how important access to health services is for New Brunswickers,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “The establishment of a new autism centre in Edmundston will assist families in the Madawaska region access community-based resources. It will also complement and enhance the formal service delivery system to improve the quality of life for New Brunswickers.”

The centre will provide support services for the families of preschoolers, school-aged children, youth and adults with autism in the region.

Resources include:

  • accessible social support;
  • self-help, public education; and
  • a broad array of resources for persons with autism and their families.

“The Centre de ressources en autisme du Nord-Ouest will provide a physical place to meet the needs of people on the autism spectrum in the greater Edmundston community,” said Nathalie Sirois-Caron, director of the centre. “The centre will also work to encourage and extend education through community programs and help families identify their needs and inform them of resources available.”

Edmundston is one of two new autism centre locations to be announced this year. The Department of Health provides annual funding to nine other non-profit community autism centres across the province, including in Campbellton, Bathurst, Shippagan, Miramichi, Moncton/Dieppe, Fredericton, Saint John, Saint Andrews and Perth-Andover.

As well, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development administers the Preschool Autism Program, which provides early intensive behaviour intervention. Each child’s behaviour, learning and development are assessed to develop a personalized learning plan.

In 2017, the government introduced an enhanced model for the program that increased per-child funding from $27,500 to almost $33,000, standardized services across the province, and incorporated new evidence-based practices.

In addition, the government continues to invest in training for people working with children with autism. A team supports training for preschool autism agency personnel and school professionals across the seven school districts as part of the Provincial Autism Training Framework.

An introductory online training program for school personnel, which was developed by New Brunswick professionals and is endorsed by international experts in the field, is also available across the Atlantic provinces.