Welcome Federal Funding for Canadians with Autism

Ontarios autism spectrum agencies welcome federal investment in the working lives of youth and adults WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 12, 2014

In the release of the federal budget yesterday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, there was a surprise but welcome offering for youth and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Canada.

The Redpath Centre, Autism Ontario and Kerrys Place Autism Services praised the move.

As many as 1 in 94 children are diagnosed with ASD in Ontarioand the rates for adults could be as high as 1 in 100 according to a recent UK study.

Along with funding for vocational supports for those with intellectual disabilities, the promise of $11.4 million over four years to support vocational training for Canadians living with ASD is some relief to an underserved and poorly resourced community, as identified in a Redpath Centre report released one year ago.

That study showed that for 480 affected youth and adults living with ASD, the most common income source was the Ontario Disability Support Program for 209 (58.2%) adults.

Full-time employment was the primary income source for only 50 (13.9%), and part-time employment for 22 (6.1%) of the sample.

We have a long way to go in acknowledging and responding to the wide range of issues that youth and adults with ASDs experience in the workplace says Sarah Duhaime, Life Skills and Employment Coach at The Redpath Centre in Toronto.

Some of the challenges may be related to the core features of ASD, or the other many learning, organizational, sensory and mental health issues these individuals experience. We must develop employment and training models that are specific to their unique circumstances.

Marg Spoelstra, Director of Autism Ontario, was thrilled to hear about federal investment in supporting vocational opportunities for people with ASD. So many adults with ASD have such potential that often goes unrealized. This national
recognition, combined with funding, will assist young people and adults on the autism spectrum in finding and maintaining employment and vocational opportunities, which in turn, gives hope to them and their families.

The 2014 Economic Action plan Connects persons with developmental disabilities with jobs through the Ready, Willing & Able initiative and supports the creation of vocational training centres for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Sally Ginter, President and CEO of Kerrys Place Autism Servicesthe largest provider of ASD services and supports in Canadastated: Kerrys Place is committed to our vision that people with ASD are accepted as full and equal members of their communities. We are dedicated to providing resources and
supports necessary to gain the skills, confidence and opportunities for meaningful
employment. Through partnerships and strategic alliances we can offer the greatest impact and produce the highest quality results.

The dearth of a range of services including employment supports leads to personal and family crises, unnecessary systems dependencies, and staggering unrealized human potential, added Dr. Stoddart, Director of the fee-for-service Redpath
Centre. Our community is counting on similar provincial investments for vocational services, he said.

For further information about ASDs, please contact:
Dr. Kevin Stoddart Margaret Spoelstra
Director, The Redpath Centre Executive Director, Autism Ontario Email:kevin.stoddart@redpathcentre.ca Email: marg@autismontario.com Phone: 416-920-4999 Ext 0169 Phone:
416-246-9592 Ext 222
Sally Ginter
President and CEO
Kerrys Place Autism Services
Phone: (905) 841-6611 Ext 556