NDP Calls for Restored Funding for Autism Early Intervention Centres

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy is calling for the restoration of funding to government-contracted agencies that provide pre-school children with autism early intervention programs across New Brunswick. Cardy believes the cuts, effective June 1st, are short sighted and will cost the province more in the long run.

“Autism interventions before age five are most effective, save money long term and most importantly give kids the best chance at a full and rewarding life,” Cardy said. “This is short-sighted and shows why we need NDP MLAs to stop these backroom decisions.”

The changes that took effect this month include cuts to funding for training new agency employees, human resources services, instructors teaching group classes, and staff preparation time.

NDP Oromocto-Lincoln candidate Amanda Diggins is an early childhood educator who believes this funding is crucial for the future development of these children.

“Eliminating funding for staff training and planning is wrong,” Diggins said. “The hours a worker spends with children aren’t just supervision, it is therapy and like any educational service needs to be planned. Parents of kids with autism are already working hard and often stressed. This is unacceptable.”

Cardy said it is especially disappointing that these cuts occurred during National Disabilities Week.

“We supported Kelly Lamrock’s decision to train and hire 400 more Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) trained workers when he was Education Minister in 2006,” Cardy said. “New Brunswick has made progress in helping children with autism and we cannot just throw that aside now because governments don’t want to make tough decisions on corporate welfare and patronage.”