The Quebec-based Miriam Foundation and the British Columbia-based Pacific Autism Family Network have received more than $10 million from the federal government to develop a national information service on autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor made the announcement during a visit to the Miriam Foundation’s Gold Centre on Oct. 22, during Autism Awareness Month.
The free online resource is to be known as the Autism-Intellectual Disability National Resource and Exchange Network, or AIDE.
It is intended to benefit Canadians with ASD and their families, as well as professionals who work with them, by providing ready access to the latest information on the disorder and on local services.
“AIDE will help to generate greater awareness, understanding and capacity to support the health and well-being of those living with ASD by curating and disseminating evidence-based information, resources and programs through an online library and supporting national collaboration and partnership through the hub-to-hub network,” stated Warren Greenstone, president and CEO of the Miriam Foundation.
Petitpas Taylor noted that one of the challenges families face is navigating the flood of information available out there, with no certainty regarding its credibility or quality.
The goal of AIDE is to create a website that serves as a centralized and reliable source, in both English and French. In addition, six AIDE locations will be opened across the country to provide the same support.
The funding is coming out of the $20 million over five years that was pledged in the last budget to support those affected by ASD.
This free service will support greater awareness, understanding, knowledge and capacity to support the health and well-being of those living with ASD.
– Ginette Petitpas Taylor
“The needs of Canadians living with, and affected by, autism are complex and diverse,” said Petitpas Taylor. “This free service will support greater awareness, understanding, knowledge and capacity to support the health and well-being of those living with ASD and their families.”
The Gold Centre is a private, not-for-profit organization supported by the Miriam Foundation that offers services, conducts research and educational programs in the field of ASD and developmental disabilities.
It operates early intensive intervention programs for young children and recreational activities for adults.
It also runs MateriaTech, a bank of over 9,000 materials specifically designed for children and adults with development disabilities that are made available to organizations, professionals and families.