Peets pushes for help for autistic children
Funding for an Autism Spectrum Disorder programme for preschoolers has been championed by a charity leader.
Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson announced on Friday that $327,000 would be set aside to develop the programme in 2019-20.
Anthony Peets, the president of Bermuda Autism Support and Education, said: “More vigilance is needed as this is an area now we see needs way more attention.”
Mr Peets pointed to research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute of the United States, that one in 59 children had a diagnosis of ASD by the age of 8 in 2014 — a 15 per cent increase from 2012.
He said that early diagnosis was “imperative” and that “specific intervention programming is welcomed”.
Mr Peets added: “What is more than imperative is having trained personnel who implement the day-to-day interventions.
“Working with children on the spectrum is way more than just having awareness of a diagnosis.
“Interventions are tailored and targeted for that child.”
Mr Peets said at present it takes months for parents to have an assessment of their child completed in Bermuda.
He explained: “Child and Adolescent Services only has so many practitioners and it is not a one person diagnosis.”
Mr Peets said that some families had chosen to go overseas to have assessments done.
But he added: “There are, for some, personal life factors that prohibit that.”
Mr Peets looked forward to more details on how money would be dispersed for the ASD programme. He said: “No doubt a detailed share will be forthcoming. More information on that would be helpful. More support for families dealing with autism is also important.”
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