| Last Updated: Friday, May 5, 2006 | 12:57 PM AT CBC News
Preschool autistic children in southwestern New Brunswick now have their own support centre.
With the opening of the Stepping Stones agency in Saint John on Friday, children who had been limited to one hour of therapy a week can have up to 20 hours of care.
“I never ever thought that this would happen, that one population would be designated and given funding,” said Sharon Gainforth, a speech pathologist who specializes in the treatment of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. (ASD).
AUTISM SOCIETY OF CANADA: What are autism spectrum disorders?
“This is a huge beginning step, which I think the government really needs to be applauded for, and I can’t say how much I appreciate it. I just see the difference in the kids, and that’s what it’s all about.”
There are 34 children currently enrolled at the agency.
The centre will offer services from occupational therapists, psychologists, speech and language pathologists and support workers, Gainforth said, adding she heard positive feedback before the agency even opened.
“Parents, they are just so pleased that the government has placed agencies in place so that they know everybody who is a registered clinical supervisor, and everybody who is working with their child is accountable,” she said.