October is Autism Awareness Month, providing an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about this condition and about how we can support people living with autism, their families and their caregivers. It is estimated that 1 in 66 children and youth has been diagnosed with autism in Canada, yet Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that remains misunderstood by many people.
The Government of Canada is committed to helping people with autism and their families. Through Budget 2018, we are investing $20 million over the next five years to support innovative, community-based projects that will integrate and strengthen health, social and educational programs, and reduce stigma toward people with autism. This builds on existing investments in research and support for health professionals in diagnosing, treating and providing resources for their patients with ASD
For example, this year, in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners, we released the report Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children and Youth in Canada 2018, which provides an overview of the data that is helping us to better understand the prevalence of ASD across Canada. We are also supporting the Canadian Paediatric Society in the development of clinical assessment guidelines that will assist health care professionals in early detection and follow-up care for children and youth living with autism.
Those who live with autism deserve every opportunity to participate fully in their communities and contribute to our society. This October, join me in raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and learn about how you can support Canadians living with autism.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P
Minister of Health