“It is a progressive step for Saskatchewan to include autism in the conversation about mental health, and we are now able to provide this much-needed service to those with autism and their loved ones.” Autism Resource Centre Executive Director Keely Wight
The 2019-20 Budget dedicates more than $12 million in annual funding to providing autism services and supports for Saskatchewan residents.
The budget includes a $700,000 increase to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Individualized Funding program. This increases the annual funding per child under six from $4,000 to $6,000, providing parents with greater flexibility to choose from a range of therapeutic interventions and supports for their child. The total budget commitment for Autism Spectrum Disorder Individualized Funding is $3.5 million.
The Autism Resource Centre in Regina and Autism Services of Saskatoon will also receive an annualized funding increase of $100,000 each. This will allow each organization to hire a mental health professional to provide enhanced mental health services and supports for individuals with autism and their families.
“Autism services and supports are crucial for ensuring that families who have children with autism have the flexibility and assistance needed to thrive,” Reiter said. “That is why this government brought in individualized funding last year and has increased spending on services and supports from just over $500,000 in 2007 to more than $12 million annually.”
“The Autism Resource Centre is very grateful to the Saskatchewan government for recognizing the unique mental health needs of people with autism,” Autism Resource Centre Executive Director Keely Wight said. “It is a progressive step for Saskatchewan to include autism in the conversation about mental health, and we are now able to provide this much-needed service to those with autism and their loved ones.”
“This funding comes at a critical juncture as the need is great and the issues are complex,” Autism Services of Saskatoon Executive Director Lynn Latta said. “As mental health services expand in our province, the need for an autism-specific lens is crucial. We are excited to be working with the Autism Resource Centre of Regina on a service model combining direct face-to-face therapeutic services, community collaboration and awareness and education initiatives.”
To learn about the Autism Spectrum Disorder Individualized Funding program and other services and supports available for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/autism.
Additional Resources: Autism Services Saskatoon
Autism Services Saskatoon reports:
ASD is not considered to be curable but it is highly treatable.
Early intervention programming has shown dramatic results in improving the eventual outcome for the child. Symptoms can be lessened and skills can be acquired with treatment and support. Children do not “grow out” of autism but with specific programming and supports can learn like other children and can also be given the tools to manage and live more effectively with their symptoms.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
The latest statistics indicate that as many as 1 in 68 children are affected by ASD. What was once viewed as a rare disorder is now recognized as one of the most common neurological disorder affecting children.
(CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html, April 10, 2014)
WHAT CAUSES AUTISM?
Exactly what causes ASD is still unknown. Current research suggests that a predisposition to autism might be inherited. Researchers have not found a specific “autism gene” but instead a nonspecific factor, which may increase the likelihood of having cognitive impairments. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. Researchers have also found neurobiological differences in the brains of individuals with autism. The current theory is that ASD is caused by a combination of “risk genes” and environmental factors in the early brain development period.
Autism Services is a Saskatoon-based charitable organization dedicated to supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.