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City councillors push for local autism strategy

In the absence of provincial or federal autism strategies, should we take the issue into our own hands?
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The following resolution has been placed on the agenda of Monday's City Council by Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Vezeau-Allen and Ward 5's Corey Gardi.

Lindsay Collins, president and awareness coordinator for Autism Ontario's Sault chapter, will also be presenting at the same meeting about World Autism Awareness Day.

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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Mover: Councillor L. Vezeau-Allen

Seconder: Councillor C. Gardi

Whereas in March of 2018, Autism Ontario released the latest statistics regarding autism spectrum disorder and reported that the rate of the disorder is 1 of 66 livebirths.  Autism is a pervasive spectrum disorder, marked by difficulty in socialinteractions, which does not discriminate between race, culture, socio-economicstatus or religion. The rate of autism is higher among males (five times more likely) than females. Children with autism become adults with autism and there is no cure; and

Whereas as a northern community we recognize that the number of children and adults who have been diagnosed on the spectrum or who are awaiting a diagnosishas greatly increased. The initial pathway to services is through the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, whose offices are in regional areas that provide mainly administrative services, not actual early intervention; and

Whereas early diagnosis can lead to early programming and success for individualsand families affected by autism disorders; and

Whereas neither the provincial nor federal governments have specific autism strategies, leaving many families and individuals without access to the services they require; and

Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie values all citizens and wants everyone to have equal opportunities for success;

Now therefore be it resolved that the Ontarians with Disabilities Accessibility Advisory Committee be requested to strike a subcommittee dedicated to working with community partners to develop a municipal autism strategy to assist families,caregivers and individuals dealing with an autism diagnosis and to create a road map for the autism community in shaping the future development of our community.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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