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New pilot program to fast-track ASD, ADHD assessments

By Caitlin Snow Sep 11, 2023 | 10:37 AM

Scazon / CC

The province has announced a new pilot program for assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in preschool and school aged children.

Nova Scotia will spend $500,000 to pay for assessments done through a private psychologist, for those who are on the provincial wait list, at no cost to families.

The first of its kind for Nova Scotia.

“An ASD or ADHD diagnosis opens the door to a range of supports in our healthcare system and in the community,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “Through this pilot project, we’re testing a new approach to delivering mental healthcare, while at the same time addressing a long-standing need in our system. This is an important milestone for Nova Scotia on the road to universal mental health and addictions care.”

The pilot will run for one year.

“Many families and caregivers are without the means to access an autism diagnosis for their child before or after they start school – they remain on wait lists for months or even years. Through this pilot project, more families will be able to access diagnostic services for their child, helping to set them up for educational success and access the support they need.”
– Cynthia Carroll, Executive Director, Autism Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:
— there are about 1,300 children on the wait list for autism assessment in Nova Scotia and 400 on the wait list for ADHD
— parents who want to learn more about ASD or ADHD assessment for their child should see their primary care provider; Nova Scotians on the Need A Family Practice wait list can access primary care in person and online at https://needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca/ or by calling 811