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AutismBC seeking support for Peace residents

AutismBC has requested a letter of support from the Peace River Regional District and intends to apply for a $10,000 grant through the BC Hydro Go Fund.

The funds would be used exclusively to support those on the spectrum in the Peace Region, explained Susan Tarrant, development manger for AutismBC in their request to the PRRD.

$3,000 would be used to host six lived-experience facilitator workshops, $5,000 would be put towards, transportation, meals, accommodation for adults or families seeking health related appointments in Prince George, $1,000 for administrative costs, and a $1,000 for renting safe gathering places for in-person meetings.

"The northern region of our province has very limited resources of this kind, and families are forced to travel great distances to obtain the health related support they need to support autistic children. Adults on the spectrum face the same challenges, often with even less support," notes the project's overview.

There are 56 diagnosed individuals of all ages on the spectrum in the Peace Region, and over 100 waiting for assessment, adds the overview. The workshops would be virtual, connecting with residents in the Peace, offering wrap-around support and information.

Fort St. John Mayor Lilia Hansen said she's reached out to several local stakeholders who work with children, noting they feel virtual services aren't suitable for children on the spectrum.

"While they really encourage any opportunity to help our families in the Peace Region, I'm not in favour of this letter. And I know we're not the ultimate decider, this will have to go before the committee for the BC Hydro Go Fund. But I would like to see support more for a local organization," said Hansen.

Electoral Area D Director Leonard Hiebert also said he has concerns about the suitability of virtual, noting he didn't see any mention of anything local.

"Are they planning to use these funds to actually set something up within our region? When I read through the application, I didn't really see anything, other than virtual," he said. "And having worked with autism children in the past, that virtual is not going help a whole lot."

You can read their letter in full here:

Correspondence_AutismBC Request for Letter of Support by Tom Summer on Scribd

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Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News