Autism Awareness

November 3, 2016 11:40 pm
Updated: November 17, 2016 12:28 pm

State-of-the-art autism centre to open in Richmond next week

WATCH: After years of planning and fundraising, the Pacific Autism Family Centre will open its doors next week. The centre will provide B.C. kids with special needs and their families access to world class treatment, research, and support.

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In less than a week, The Pacific Autism Family Centre will open its doors in Richmond. Already being touted as a world-renowned centre of excellence for autism, it has been years in the making.

Every single day the building looks different and it does feel like we’re all drinking from the fire hose,” said co-founder Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia.

“There’s hundreds if not thousands of volunteers who have worked on this project for over nine years.”

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The $28-million Pacific Autism Family Centre will help the estimated 56,000 people in B.C. with autism and their families.

An entire wing of the Richmond facility was built thanks to a $1 million donation from Variety The Children’s Charity.

Variety BC’s Kristy Gill told Global BC: “This project really stuck out to us because it helps so many children, thousands and thousands of children in B.C. And our mandate is all of B.C., and I think this new centre is going to be phenomenal.”

Every square foot of the centre has been carefully planned. Lighting, flooring and colour schemes provide a calming atmosphere. The latest technology will allow information sharing.

“The therapy area itself includes five different treatment areas, all intended to be model programs that we will use to inform and build capacity around British Columbia,” said co-founder Sergio Cocchia.

“We also have two playgrounds that were informed, helped by [board certified behaviour analysts] to be interactive and sensory so we think the kids will really enjoy those areas as well.”

Over the next few years, eight smaller centres will open around B.C. This ground breaking venture is expected to improve the lives of thousands of British Columbians, thanks in part to Variety BC.

The Pacific Autism Family Centre officially opens Nov. 9.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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