first_img Dr. Dorothy Chitty, psychologist and provincial clinical leader, Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program Dr. Isabel Smith, professor in pediatrics and psychology and neurosciences, Dalhousie University, and psychologist at the IWK Health Centre Teresa Alexander-Arab, speech language pathologist and clinical director, Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres Dr. Tara Szuszkiewicz, psychologist and clinical leader of the Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program for Annapolis Valley Health Cynthia Carroll, executive director, Autism Nova Scotia Norman Donovan, family advocate Nick Phillips, co-ordinator of special needs child care policy and program development, Education and Early Childhood Development Susan Jozsa, autism consultant, Education and Early Childhood Development Patricia Murray, special advisor to the associate deputy minister on mental health and addictions, Department of Health and Wellness The Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program was introduced in 2005 to help children with autism get treatment before they entered school. At that time, one in 150 people were being diagnosed with autism, according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. That rate has now more than doubled, to one in 68 people. “Families with autism find this program extremely valuable,” said Dr. Smith. “I’m pleased to be able to work with government to extend the reach of the program, and to put children on the right path as they start school.” About 130 children participate in the program each year. There are almost 200 children on the wait list. Government has asked a group of experts to advise how best to ensure that children diagnosed with autism get the treatment they need at the right time. The experts will review the latest research and evidence around autism, school readiness and treatment. They will begin meeting immediately, and will report back in late fall. “We need to make sure that children with autism get the treatment they need at the right age, before they start school,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “We know this is an important issue, and we must act quickly. But we also must ensure that our decisions are based on the best available evidence.” The panel members are:last_img read more

A leading international human rights group today warned that leaders in both the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party should not discount a Mahinda Rajapaksa return.The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must reach workable compromises on key issues including economic reform that shares the pain of change equitably and renewed anti-corruption, anti-impunity drives that prioritise a limited number of significant criminal cases implicating both major parties. To achieve a deal on the constitution that includes strengthened devolution, ICG says Sirisena must speak forcefully and lead a campaign that explains the reform package’s benefits for all communities. “Renewing transitional justice hopes requires rapid launch of the Office on Missing Persons and faster progress on reducing the military footprint in the north and east.  But time is running out. Leaders in both parties should not discount a Rajapaksa return. For their own survival and to deliver on at least some of their big promises, they should reject chauvinistic politics and daily bickering and invest their political capital in promoting an inclusive vision and more accountable polity that can mitigate the risk of new conflict,” ICG added. The report also notes that Tamils in the north and east were assured of confidence building measures that require major changes in the security forces’ role. Yet, the military resists returning additional occupied land to its owners in these areas and continues to run shops and hotels and build Buddha statues in Tamil and Muslim communities.ICG says failure to reduce the military footprint has led to a campaign of protests by Tamils in the north that is weakening support for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main Tamil party cooperating closely with the ruling coalition. (Colombo Gazette) read more