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Autism Services

Autism specific services are provided for preschool and school age children and youth in Prince Edward Island. Diagnostic services are available through the Department of Health and Wellness while intervention services are provided by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is supported and supervised by the Early Years Autism Team who provide assessment and individualized programming for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. IBI services can be offered either in the home or at early childhood centres.

To facilitate successful experiences for students with autism in an inclusionary school environment, a continuum of supports must be available for both the students and educators.

In Prince Edward Island, the Autism Coordinator at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Autism Consultants at the school boards provide individual consultation, assessment and behavioural support for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in public schools. This service is available to students who have a diagnosis of any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Autism, PDD-NOS or Asperger Syndrome. Documentation of the diagnosis from the diagnosing professional must be provided.

Training and support for staff and parents is essential and is provided by the Autism Coordinators, along with Board Consultants and Early Years Specialists.

Parent Training is offered by the Special Needs Family Support Specialist. Strategies and interventions which are evidence-based and have demonstrated effectiveness for individuals with ASD are recommended and supported. Many of these strategies are based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis. Since many individuals with Autism have difficulty with change, special attention and planning is provided to prepare for transitions at key points, particularly at school entry, between schools and planning for post secondary environments.

Active parent involvement and ongoing communication is encouraged as this maximizes learning opportunities and generalization of skills. Some individuals with Autism demonstrate challenging behaviors which interfere with learning. When a behaviour support plan is needed, this is based on Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA) and emphasizes positive approaches, validated through research.

Teaching peers about Autism encourages peer involvement and the development of friendships. Autism Consultants and Early Years Specialists collaborate with the families, teachers and early childhood centres to provide support in this area.

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