Public Health Agency of Canada Releases First Ever National Report on Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence in Canada

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a perfect opportunity to reflect on the newly released National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System Report, which provides, for the first time – autism prevalence in Canada. The report, released by the Public Health Agency of Canada on March 29th, identifies that autism occurs in 1 in 66 Canadian youth ages 5-17. The report is an important step in government leadership, collaboration and commitment towards improving our understanding of autism in Canada and it validates the significant and life-long impact that autism has on the health and well-being of many Canadian individuals, families and communities.

The increasing prevalence of autism highlights an urgent need for timely supports and services for individuals, their families and caregivers throughout the lifespan. It is a call to action that aligns with what Sinneave has learned through our decade of partnerships and work with emerging adults with autism who face a services cliff at age 18.  We believe that providing appropriate supports, particularly during the critical transition to adulthood, will improve outcomes in education, employment and independent living, and ultimately increase the quality of life for individuals with autism, their families and caregivers, and communities across Canada.

We look forward to the federal government’s continued leadership and support of collaborative efforts with stakeholders like us who have a shared commitment to improving the lives of Canadians with autism and their families.

As we celebrate World Autism Awareness Day today, I encourage everyone to reflect on the call from Daniel Share-Strom, an autism advocate who in his 2016 Ted Talk at York University thanked society for its awareness of autism, yet urged society to advance from awareness to understanding and acceptance. In Daniel’s words, understanding will dismantle pre-conceived stereotypes and acceptance will acknowledge the validity of the way that individuals with autism experience the world. The Sinneave Family Foundation agrees whole heartedly with Daniel’s message and will continue to support the community in its broader autism understanding and acceptance.

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