Committee holds meeting on children and youth with neuro-diverse special needs

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The all-party Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth held a meeting on Wednesday at the Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre.

Committee Chair and MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, Nicholas Simons, says the purpose of the meeting is for the public to share their input and experiences as part of a project on improving assessment and eligibility processes for those living with neuro-diverse special needs.

“We’re holding public hearings to hear from parents, caregivers, service providers, and other organizations on how assessment and eligibility processes can be improved.”

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Executive Director of the Child Development Centre, Tana Millner, provided input on how the process should improve when it comes to waitlists for services, such as speech therapy.

Millner feels that the long wait for therapy is damaging to a child’s development and is a large weight on the staff at her Centre.

“The effects on the children and families waiting on this service are damaging, and especially on our staff who carry large caseloads. Our caseloads are double or better than what colleges recommend. The pressures of those waitlists, they’re always often times thinking when going to bed thinking “I can fit one more on this caseload because they need it and I know this kid will benefit if I could just see him a couple of times”. They’re frustrated, the families are frustrated.”

Most of the presenters at the meeting found there needs to be more access to services for better diagnosis and therapy for those living with neuro-diverse special needs.

Following the series of meetings, and submissions, the Committee will release a report with recommendations to the Legislative Assembly by the early fall.

If you could not make it to the meeting and would like to provide input, you can make a written submission to the Standing Committee by June 7, 2019.

For more information, you can visit the Committee’s website.

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