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   NEWS RELEASE   

For Immediate Release

2007CFD0043-001334

Oct. 20, 2007

Ministry of Children and Family Development

 

B.C. ANNOUNCES NATIONAL AUTISM RESEARCH CHAIR

 


VANCOUVER – A national chair in Autism Intervention Research will be established at Simon Fraser University thanks to a $1-million provincial grant and a $1-million federal contribution, Children and Family Development Minister Tom Christensen announced today in honour of Autism Awareness Month.

 

“This Canada/British Columbia partnership is an important step toward improving treatment and intervention options for children and youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Christensen. “It will contribute significantly to the body of research on the most effective ways of helping children reach their own unique potential.”

 

In British Columbia, more than 4,700 children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are receiving services through the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Community Living B.C. this year. ASD interferes with normal brain development, affecting reasoning, social interaction and communication. There is no single medical test for ASD and the causes are not fully understood.

 

“Autism Spectrum Disorder is an important concern and the federal government is committed to working with our provincial partners and other stakeholders on this important issue,” said federal Health Minister Tony Clement. “Continued research into ASD is crucially important to improved treatments and services. We are confident the appointment of the first national chair in autism research and intervention will help to better address the many challenges individuals with ASD and their families are facing.”

 

“Simon Fraser University is committed to taking a leadership role in building and improving Canada’s capacity for ASD services and interventions,” said SFU president Dr. H. Michael Stevenson. “This new chair in Autism Intervention Research will provide much-needed research that leads to optimal behavioural and education intervention strategies for Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

 

In addition to the chair, SFU is dedicating a full-time faculty position to increase the number of qualified autism behaviour consultants who develop individualized intervention plans to help children with social, language and early academic skills.

 

 “This commitment to both researching effective treatment and training more practitioners is a tremendous boost for the treatment of children with autism,” explained Deborah Pugh, director of research and training with ACT - Autism Community Training Society. “Families are desperate for highly trained behaviour consultants as there is a severe shortage internationally.”

 

Today’s announcement coincides with Autism Awareness Month, proclaimed by the Province of British Columbia and across Canada each October to increase public awareness and professional understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

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 1 factsheet(s) attached.

 

 

Media

contact:

Seumas Gordon

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-2939

 

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