"Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurological condition estimated to affect as many as one in 88 children. It is now the most common neurological disorder affecting children and one of the most common developmental disabilities. Many individuals living with ASD will need some level of support over their entire lives. In cases where adolescents and adults with severe autism are placed into long-term care or other supported housing arrangements the annual cost of housing, which includes caregiver time, can be $400 per day, amounting to approximately $150,000 a year. Few Canadian families generate sufficient income to cover such high costs of support. Even where families with ASD dependents have income to pay for some of the required care needed, they face challenges finding available and qualified caregivers. Unfortunately, as families of ASD dependents age or become financially unable to care, it is not obvious how their adult with ASD will be supported other than with the burden falling on the state."
New Brunswick Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé has acknowledged receipt of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy report. The immediate reaction to this information may be "So What?" The fact is we, as parents, as caregivers, as advocates for our children and others with autism and related disorders, must ensure that all relevant information is placed before government decision makers. It is part of what we did here in New Brunswick in advocating for evidence based early intervention and school services for children with autism and for the continuation of the tertiary care program at the Stan Cassidy Centre Autism Rehabilitation Services team. It may not seem as exciting as some of the high profile campaigns that hit the New Brunswick media but it is, in my humble opinion, of fundamental importance in advocating for evidence based, humane autism support services across the lifespan of children, youth and adults with autism and related disorders.