The University of New Brunswick in Fredericton will expand its autism-training program to include the general public this fall. Lloyd Henderson, the executive director of Extended Learning at UNB, said he’s excited.
For the first time in the province, a course that is helping teachers and education assistants work with autistic children and adults will be offered to the public.
"Parents are going to have, or anyone else who takes this course is going to have, access to that same quality and intensity of education so they are all singing from the same songbook if you will,” Henderson said.
Henderson said consistency is key to helping autistic children.
"When you have something happening in the preschool centre and it’s different at home and different again when they go to school, that will be very disconcerting to some of these children."
Since 2004, more than 900 teachers and education assistants have graduated from the 12-week university-level course.
"We have many success stories where we see [a child] now can sit in the gymnasium with his peers, and he can sit there and doesn’t have to run away or they don’t have to chase him down the hall or he doesn’t need to scream,” said Francyne Jutras, the autism intervention training director.
It is estimated that 190,000 Canadian children are autistic, and according to experts the number keeps climbing.
"My heart is for those children; that’s my main concern,” said Jutras.
“Every time I think about a mother - I am a mom with two children and I think about a mom doesn’t sleep all night because she has a child with whatever the behaviour is, my heart goes to her so the only way I can help her is provide the course.”
The course begins in September. The cost is $4,600. Scholarships are available from the college.