BOUCTOUCHE (GNB) – A new community autism centre will be established in Bouctouche that will benefit residents of the Kent County area.

“Access to health services is a top priority for New Brunswickers,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “This new autism centre will help families in the Kent region access community-based resources and enhance the services your government delivers.”

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.

“When first receiving a diagnosis of autism for yourself or your child, it can be very difficult to find the proper resources and support,” said Angèle Collette, executive director of the Autism Resource Centre and Autism Kent. “The centre will offer a neutral place in the community for families, individuals with autism, and professionals to get information, access personalized resources, as well as receive help navigating the services and programs that are available in the area. This new centre will be accessible to everyone in the Kent area.”

Kent County is one of two of the new autism centre locations to be created this year. On May 17 a new autism centre, to be established in Edmundston, was announced. The Department of Health provides annual funding to nine other non-profit community autism centres across the province including centres 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.