CFY To Host Autism Information Night

On Tuesday May 18th the public are invited to an Autism Information Session presented by Leah Petersen of Sun Country Health Region. 

7 PM at the Carlyle Public Library

Addmission is free and coffee and donuts are on us!

Autism Spectrum Disorder Program

The Autism Spectrum Disorder Consultant positions are new to Saskatchewan for 2009.  Each Health Region was able to hire one consultant and one ASD support worker (with the exception of Regina and Saskatoon who have a few consultants due to their higher population).

The purpose of the program is to provide support to families, clients, school teams, etc. regarding any person suspected of having an ASD as well as those who have already received a diagnosis between the ages of 0-19.  Support comes in many forms including diagnostic testing (with the assistance of various professionals), assistance with programming, behavior modification, dietary support, referrals to other agencies, etc.

An Autism Support Worker has been hired to provide direct programming either through the home or preschool environment (depending on the needs of a particular client).  The Support Worker will work with any client suspected or diagnosed with autism on the Consultant’s caseload until such a time the client enters a registered kindergarten.

Once a referral is received if no diagnosis is in place a screening is performed to determine eligibility for the ASD program.  Then referral to a diagnostic professional is completed if the parents wish.  If the parents are not prepared for a diagnostic professional to become involved at that time the Consultant provides support until such a time they are ready.  If the child does not meet screening criteria he/she is then discharged from the program with any referrals to other professionals as needed. 

The Consultant supervises approximately 50% of the support workers therapy sessions with the preschool clients.  The remainder of the time is spend providing consults to school age children.  Typically the consultant will spend an allotted time observing the student in class, speaking with parents, teacher, etc.  Then a team meeting is held to discuss recommendations.  The Consultant may also provide assistance via the resource library available through the ASD program.

It is important for families to have a type of respite in place as well.  A small budget has been put in place to assist families in obtaining the form of respite that best suits them.  It is not income tested.  Some families may use respite in the traditional way where they will find someone to care for their child in order to allow the parents a break.  Other families may choose use the money to pay for a portion of a family get-away or perhaps pay for fees for the child to take part in a recreational activity such as swimming.  Respite is a broad term in this program that means an activity or item that provides the child with something enjoyable and in turn provides the parents with respite from the high demands of having a special needs child.

Referrals to the program come from a variety of sources. These may include parents, schools, speech-language pathologist, psychologist, public health, or physicians.  In order for an agency to refer to the program parental permission must be obtained. 

For more information please contact the ASD Consultant for Sun Country Health Region, Leah Petersen at 306-842-8656.

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