I am pleased to be able to recognize Autism Awareness month by announcing that the recruitment process has begun for the new Special Needs Family Support Specialist position, says Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Doug Currie.
“I am committed to continue to improve services to families and individuals living with autism,” said Minister Currie. “And, I am pleased to announce that we are moving that goal forward by posting the Special Needs Family Support Specialist position with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. This is a full-time opportunity that will support families who have a child with special needs from preschool age to Grade 7. This position will help to alleviate a great deal of stress for families trying to understand the different services available to them.”
The successful candidate will play a crucial role in helping families identify their individual needs and will provide guidance and support to find the appropriate services. The Special Needs Family Support Specialist will act as a liaison between parents and school teams, and will work to collaborate with other governmental departments to ensure consistent and relevant supports and services are being provided.
The Special Needs Family Support Specialist position is based on a recommendation in the Autism Action Plan. A number of other recommendations have been moved forward including enhancing the wage subsidy for home-based Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) tutors to help families subsidize wages while the department develops a new model for preschool service delivery. As well, the department has:
• Developed and is piloting a new Intensive Kindergarten Support model in six schools;
• Increased service capacity by hiring the Preschool Autism Coordinator and three full-time Preschool Autism Specialists, which is helping to decrease wait times;
• Provided training for two teachers in Autism Consultant positions to build capacity for supporting students with autism at the Eastern and Western School Boards;
• Ensured that children receiving Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) services are now assessed at entry and exit from the program to help evaluate the effectiveness of the service.
Since May 2010, tutors, families and staff have been offered 14 days and two evenings of training to build knowledge about effective practices for children with autism. All departments involved in supporting individuals with autism have designated members for an Interdepartmental Autism Committee and a project manager will be identified to facilitate the review and further actions in the Autism Strategy.
“I would like to commend the Autism Society for their hard work in bringing focus to the issues facing families and individuals with autism through events like Autism Awareness Month and the curling event they are hosting this Saturday,” said Minister Currie. “I know a great deal of work has been done, but recognize that there is still more to do and I look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with the society as we move our Autism Strategy forward.”
For more information about the Special Needs Family Support Specialist position contact the PEI Public Service Commission.
The Prince Edward Island Autism Action Plan: Another Piece of the Puzzle is available at Island Information Service or on line at www.gov.pe.ca/eecd under Special Educational Needs.
Media Contact: Maureen Flanagan-LeClair