Group calls for national autism program

April is Autism month in Canada and on Monday, Sen. Jim Munson joined the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) to release a blueprint for a national autism spectrum disorders (ASD) strategy that calls for the federal government to take a leading role in autism care.

Munson participated in a Senate inquiry which delivered a report calling for a national autism strategy in 2007.

CASDA’s new blueprint calls for coordination and collaboration between provinces, territories and the federal government, immediate action from the federal government where it has jurisdiction and a cross-departmental approach within the federal government.

“Every child every adult in this country with autism deserves the same as you and I in the services that we all get,” Munson said.

Cynthia Carroll, chair of CASDA, said that the organization has been calling for support for over a decade as families affected by autism across Canada have struggled.

“Woven throughout this blueprint is the overarching vision and promise to the community we represent: All Canadians with ASD and their families have full and equitable access to the resources they need across their life span, when and where they need them,” Carroll said as she unveiled the blueprint.

The group wants immediate changes to the federal tax code to give greater benefits to those with ASD and their families.

It also wants provinces to work on creating nationwide standards for care and access to services.

The plan also calls for more assistance for those with ASD to find work and housing, to allow them to become independent members of the community.

CASDA designed the plan after intense consultation with members of the autism community and their families.

The group unveiled the plan hoping to gain traction ahead of the federal election in October.

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