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(Canada) Nova Scotia: Hundreds of kids wait years for ASD diagnosis; wait years more for services

June 5, 2019, CBC: Hundreds of N.S. youngsters with autism wait for intervention program—Autism Nova Scotia says there are a record 222 children on wait list for early intervention treatment Mary MacKinnon had been waiting for a call inviting her four-year-old son to start Nova Scotia's early intervention program for children with autism spectrum disorder. The call never came. MacKinnon's son, Brody Besso, is starting school this September. He was one of hundreds of children in the province on a wait list for the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention Program (EIBI). … As of last month, there were 222 children eligible and waiting to access EIBI, according to figures provided by the Nova Scotia Health Authority. That's up from 175 in September 2018. Cynthia Carroll, executive director of Autism Nova Scotia, said 222 is the most children she has ever seen on the list. She said hundreds more are waiting anywhere from 18 to 24 months to be diagnosed with autism. After the diagnosis, families can often wait years to access EIBI. "As you have wait lists upon wait lists, it can bottleneck a system," said Carroll in an interview at the Autism Nova Scotia office in Halifax. "I think that's where it can get concerning, on the question of are children getting dangerously close to missing the treatment window?" she said…. Heather Osborne-Vincent, right, of the IWK Health Centre says the number of children on the wait list is constantly fluctuating. (CBC) But she also acknowledged that the prevalence of autism has been increasing, and so "we're seeing that impact our wait-list numbers." On Wednesday, the Health and Wellness Department announced a new pilot program that will provide one-on-one coaching to parents of toddlers with autism, using play-based activities to help develop communication and social skills. The program, which is being offered in Halifax, will cost $2 million over four years. It aims to help 35 children between age one and three in the first year, and 50 children in each of the following three years. 'Are we doing the right thing?' MacKinnon started noticing developmental delays with her son when he was about 18 months old, but he has to wait nearly two years to see a speech therapist. At that appointment, the therapist suspected Brody may have autism. They then had to wait another year for an assessment…. NOT WHY, BUT HOW MANY TIMES
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