Many Nova Scotians who have a child with autism can apply for up to $3,000 to cover the costs of equipment, supplies and other expenses.
The new one-time Autism Family Support Fund is available to lower-income families with an autistic child 16 years of age or younger.
“We are pleased to be able to help more families and caregivers of children with autism who need extra support,” said Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health. “With this new fund, we’re able to give Nova Scotia families a little extra help with some of these out-of-pocket expenses.”
Examples of eligible expenses include:
– safety equipment, such as door alarms and minor home improvements, such as gates, and fences
– education materials and training for caregivers (including manuals)
– augmentative communication devices
– respite costs
– travel for intervention or diagnostic services or medical appointments outside a child’s home community
– programming for children, such as social recreational opportunities, camps, school tutoring.
To qualify for funding, a family’s income must be below maximums listed in the fund guidelines. The amounts vary by family size. For example, the income threshold for a family of three is $51,029, and for a family of four, it is $58,310.
More information on the fund and how to apply is available at: https://iwkhealth.ca/autism-family-support-fund
The fund, an initiative of the Office of Addictions and Mental Health and administered by IWK Health, has $1 million available. There is no application deadline, but once the money is distributed, applications will no longer be accepted. Families are encouraged to apply by February 23, and the first review of applicants will be in early March.
“Autism Nova Scotia is pleased to see the Autism Family Support Fund recently announced by the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. This fund will support lower-income families and reduce some of the care needs for their children with an autism diagnosis. It’s another step towards better supporting families and caregivers across the province who manage the ongoing care of their autistic loved ones. The flexibility of the fund through the one-time grant option or the reimbursement of expenses meets qualifying families where their greatest needs are.”
— Cynthia Carroll, Executive Director, Autism Nova Scotia
“As a clinician working with children on the autism spectrum day-to-day, I see first-hand the challenges faced by families when it comes to the costs related to supporting their child. I believe this initiative will not only help alleviate some of the financial stresses, but also enhance the well-being of both children and their caregivers. By helping to address out-of-pocket expenses, the Autism Family Support Fund plays an important role in our collective efforts to support families across Nova Scotia.”
— Dr. Megan Thomas, developmental pediatrician, IWK Health
“Providing families with the funding they need to purchase essential communication equipment is truly life changing. With the Autism Family Support Fund, personal financial resources are no longer a barrier to families who require this equipment, and now, autistic children who can benefit from a communication device have the opportunity to use one.”
— Emily Goulet, speech-language pathologist, Hearing and Speech Nova Scotia
– on average, one in 31 five-year-old children in the province have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
News Release – Province Unveils New Preschool Autism Services: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20220414001
News Release – Pilot Program to Address Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder Wait Lists: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20230911001
Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/
Mandate letter for the Minister of Addictions and Mental Health: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-CNS-AMH-Youth.pdf
Via NS Health Release