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(Canada) Waiting list awaits kids with ASD in Nova Scotia

Nov 18, 2018, CBC: 'Staffing crisis' leads to delays in accessing early intervention for children with autism Autism Nova Scotia hopes panel to discuss continuous services can be reconvened Melissa Reuther and her son, Kingston, are shown in their Glace Bay home. Kingston is one of 175 children in the province with autism spectrum disorder waiting for access to an early intervention program. (CBC) Melissa Reuther is tired. You can hear it in her voice. There's nothing unique about Reuther's situation. In fact, it's the commonness of things that's partly so frustrating for the Glace Bay, N.S., resident as she and her family wait to get help for four-year-old Kingston, who has autism spectrum disorder. … By his second birthday, in 2016, Kingston was diagnosed and referred to the provincial Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program, or EIBI. Like many before her, Reuther was told to wait for a call, and that it could be a while. It's been two years and counting. EIBI is a six-month intensive program for children diagnosed with autism before they start school, pairing them with direct-care staff, a clinical supervisor and a speech-language pathologist — all with a focus on developing social communication skills. Because of the wait list, and because age six is the cutoff, the oldest preschool-age children are prioritized. … Staff shortages and waiting lists But staff shortages aren't limited to Cape Breton. Across the province there are 10.2 permanent full-time equivalent direct care staff vacancies…. As of the end of September, there were 175 children waiting and eligible for EIBI, according to the Health Department. Of that group, 101 were born in 2014, making them eligible to start school in September 2019. … A Health Department spokesperson said in a statement that significant investments have been made so all preschool-age children with autism can get EIBI before beginning school at age six. "The province spends $14 million annually so that approximately 180 children with autism spectrum disorder will be able to receive treatment each year," Tracy Barron said in an email. …

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