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Advocate says services for adults with autism lacking in N.B.

Click to play video: 'NB father says province needs more support for autistic adults' NB father says province needs more support for autistic adults
WATCH ABOVE: A New Brunswick father says there's been major progress in helping children with autism since his son was diagnosed 18 years ago, but specialized services for adults are falling by the wayside. Global's Jeremy Keefe reports – Oct 6, 2016

An advocate for adults with autism says despite seeing major progress in early autism services, New Brunswick still lags behind when it comes to options for adults living with the disorder.

Harold Doherty’s son, Connor was diagnosed with autism 18 years ago.

Now in his last year in the school system, his father is concerned over a lack of services available as he enters adulthood.

“It just doesn’t make sense to just abandon people like my son because that’s what they’re doing,” Harold said.

The long-time advocate is concerned over the lack of options his family has to provide care for Connor.

READ MORE: NBCC campuses improve support for students on the autism spectrum

Due to the severity of his son’s condition, Harold has to look after Connor around the clock, save for the time he spends in school.

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For now it’s manageable, but Harold says knows it isn’t sustainable in the long-term and eventually Connor will require assisted care.

But the lack of a facility where he and his son can call home could make that phase of his life more difficult than need be, and he doesn’t think they’re the only ones.

“If I were to keel over as we speak, they would be sending him to the Restigouche psychiatric hospital in Cambellton, which is obviously a fair distance away,” Harold said.

“And it’s far away from most of the population and most of the families in New Brunswick and it also doesn’t have the expertise we have right here in Fredericton.”

“What we’d like is a rational and humane adult care treatment centre and network … based right here in Fredericton,” explained Doherty.

In a statement, the provincial government said that they recognize “the need to provide high quality services to our province’s families and individuals living with autism.”

The statement also mentioned that the Department of Social Development in collaboration with the Department of Health and in consultation with families of adults on the high end of the autism spectrum are currently developing a diverse approach to autism that would meet the needs of all those affected by the disorder; from those on the lower end of the spectrum to those at the higher end as well as parents and caregivers.

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Doherty is planning a protest at the legislature on October 22 to bring awareness to the province’s current situation.

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