HALIFAX: The province is is making temporary changes to the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program to ensure more children with autism spectrum disorder can access supports.
A one-time investment of $3.5 million will expand the program this year to provide services to all eligible children born in 2015.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, along with growing demand for this support, means there are more children waiting for services this year than there is treatment time available,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “This funding means the program can hire staff to offer these important services to more children and their families.”
To ensure all eligible children born in 2015 receive services, programming will be offered for six months, instead of the typical 12 months, before beginning school. Parents of eligible children have been contacted directly.
Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention works to improve functional skills, including communication, social skills and behaviour, so children with autism spectrum disorder can better communicate and interact with their families, classmates and community.
“We are pleased to see this one-time investment in Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention. We do not want any child to miss a crucial intervention window and look forward to a long-term, sustainable solution to meet the growing demand for this important program in Nova Scotia.”
– Cynthia Carroll, executive director, Autism Nova Scotia
– this change means about 80 more children will receive Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention supports before they start school
– one-time funding comes from the federal Safe Restart Agreement
– government invests $13.2 million annually in the program
– additional transition supports are in place for children who recently moved from the program to school
– Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention is offered through the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre, in partnership with Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia
– Support for autism spectrum disorder: https://novascotia.ca/autism/