Supporting families key part of service
Lisa Bailey

As World Autism Awareness Day approached, posAbilities’ Laurel Behaviour Support Services (LBSS) was looking forward to showing support for those living with autism spectrum disorder as well as potential collaboration that would benefit individuals and their families.

LBSS is relocating from posAbilities’ main office in Burnaby to a Coquitlam location occupied by the Simon Fraser Society for Community Living, SHARE Family and Community Services, and the Ministry for Children and Family Development.

LBSS clinical director Nicholas Watkins notes the agencies are sharing space for now but “what we hope will build from that is some new synergies and possibilities.”

Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day

“I think there can be some creative solutions and benefits to families from having different agencies link up in ways that we’d be able to offer different services that would not be possible if we were in our own separate silos,” Nicholas says.

LBSS, which supports infants to adults and their families, could share their knowledge of evidence-based treatment approaches and expertise in applied behaviour analysis (ABA).

Networking with service providers from other sectors and silos would allow LBSS “to broaden our reach so that people can see the benefit of applied behaviour analysis and how they may be able to include our strategies in their work, and similarly, how the work of other practitioners might be a good fit for us,” Nicholas says.

The move took effect April 2, which is the United Nations-declared World Autism Awareness Day. LBSS recognized the day by participating in the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival, held April 1 at the Jack Poole Plaza in the Vancouver Convention Centre. A number of LBSS’s 18 consultants volunteered for the event, which featured a fundraising walk, live entertainment, food and family-friendly activities, and the lighting of a cauldron.

PosAbilities is always looking to give back to the community and show support for individuals and families, and this is another way we can do it,” Nicholas says.

Nicholas points to the rising incidence of autism, with one in 100 individuals diagnosed today compared to one in about 165 in the year 2000. Families of children who have autism also report considerable levels of stress as the diagnosis involves a triad of deficits.

Supporting families is a key element of LBSS, with training and education, co-ordination with other professionals and networking opportunities offered.

Nicholas notes that Laurel employs a host of evidence-based strategies from ABA, with individualized support programs developed from detailed assessments with families.

To learn more about LBSS, click on this link.

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