At long, long last

Autism has new sup­port cen­tre in Cum­ber­land County

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY DAVE MATHIESON

Ten years of hard work has paid off.

“The orig­i­nal autism group was formed about 10 years ago, and it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to see how we’ve pro­gressed over the years and fi­nally have a space to call our own in our com­mu­nity,” said Elaine Mazur, co-chair­woman of Autism Nova Sco­tia Cum­ber­land chap­ter. “Hope­fully we will con­tinue to grow and of­fer more pro­grams and sup­port for our friends liv­ing with autism.”

Mazur at­tended the open­ing of the Cum­ber­land chap­ter’s new re­source cen­tre, lo­cated at 50 Church St. in Amherst.

Jen­nifer Carey is the autism sup­port co-or­di­na­tor at the new cen­tre.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to blaz­ing a lot of trails in the com­mu­nity for ed­u­ca­tion and as­sis­tance so all of our ASD (Autism Spec­trum Dis­or­der) autis­tic in­di­vid­u­als in the com­mu­nity have a bet­ter chance to suc­ceed,” said Carey dur­ing the open­ing.

Carey says the new sup­port cen­tre cur­rently supports 10 to 15 fam­i­lies in Cum­ber­land County.

Vicky Har­vey is the Autism Nova Sco­tia Po­ten­tial Pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor, an ini­tia­tive that supports the ex­pan­sion and sup­port of all eight chap­ters in the province.

“The government put us into the pro­vin­cial bud­get, so $300,000 a year is be­ing used to in­crease ca­pac­ity to fund the staff per­son and sup­port the chap­ters in de­vel­op­ing pro­gram­ing,” said Har­vey. Har­vey said the rate for autism is higher than in the past.

“The pub­lic health agency of Canada put out a num­ber of 1 in 66 that have autism to some de­gree,” said Har­vey. “It’s a very broad spec­trum so each per­son can look quite dif­fer­ent.”

She said it’s thrilling to see lo­cal fam­ily sup­port groups grow and be­come new chap­ters.

“We went from hav­ing one small or­ga­ni­za­tion in Hal­i­fax to hav­ing eight chap­ters around the province,” said Har­vey.

Autism Nova Sco­tia is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that raises most of its money through their an­nual fundrais­ing walk.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to autism­no­vas­co­tia.ca or to the Cum­ber­land chap­ters web­site at autism­cum­ber­lan­county.ca

DAVE MATHIESON – AMHERST NEWS

Autism Nova Sco­tia Cum­ber­land Chap­ter re­cently opened its new re­source cen­tre in Amherst with help from, left, Jen­nifer Carey, Vicky Har­vey, Elaine Mazur, and To­nia Hys­lop. Carey is the autism sup­port co-or­di­na­tor for Cum­ber­land County, Har­vey is the Autism Nova Sco­tia Po­ten­tial Pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor, and Mazur and Hys­lop are co-chairs of Autism Nova Sco­tia Cum­ber­land chap­ter.

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