Awareness, Acceptance, Diagnosis and Assessment of ASD Raising ASD awareness across government departments, health authorities, school districts, municipalities and the general public, will bring further understanding of the features of ASD. This will enable individuals living with ASD to lead fuller, richer lives in communities where they are understood and accepted. The anticipated outcomes of increasing awareness are the promotion of positive attitudes about ASD, assistance with earlier diagnosis and increased support for an individual’s right to be a contributing member of society. Research demonstrates improved cognitive and functional outcomes for children who are diagnosed at younger ages and who subsequently receive appropriate early intervention and supports. Raising awareness will increase the likelihood of early identification of ASD, leading to earlier diagnosis and intervention. Implementation of focus area number one will result in:
1.1 Increased public awareness of the core features of ASD.
1.2 Increased ASD awareness by delivering sessions to frontline staff who provide services or could potentially provide services to individuals living with ASD.
1.3 Routine monitoring for early signs of ASD for siblings of children diagnosed with ASD through surveillance by health professionals.
1.4 Increased access to supportive counselling and support groups for families living with ASD.
1.5 Availability of a toolkit for individuals and families which provides critical information upon diagnosis.
1.6 Improved data collection across the lifespan on the number of individuals living with ASD availing of services and supports through the regional health authorities and in the education system.
1.7 Reduced wait times for ASD diagnosis by aligning diagnostic procedures with national standards.
1.8 More diagnostic clinics for children and adults within each regional health authority.
1.9 New assessment tools targeting the core features of ASD for children and youth to assist with support planning and program development.
1.10 New standardized assessment tools for community supports that target individualized support needs for adults living with developmental disabilities including ASD.
1.11 Enhanced diagnostic summary reports that outline individual strengths and needs, ASD symptoms, recommendations for intervention and information on support services and materials for individuals receiving the diagnosis of ASD.