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Autism Nova Scotia encouraged by inclusive education announcement

On Thursday, Education Minister Zach Churchill announced 173 new positions for September 2019
(stock image)

On Thursday, Education Minister Zach Churchill announced 173 new positions for September 2019.

The teacher and support staff roles will be added to schools across the province at a cost of $15 million.

Cynthia Carroll, the executive director of Autism Nova Scotia, says it's a step in the right direction.

"We were very encouraged to see the additional positions put in place this year in this announcement," Carroll tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

She says the jobs aren't just about adding support, but also about building capacity in the province.

"[There's] a focus on training in this round of investment in the system," Carroll says.

In his announcement, Churchill said a third party will help regulate the changes.

Autism NS hopes that the new positions will be evaluated properly and frequently.

"How do we know what's working and what's not working and when we need to tweak that," Carroll says. "It's great to put positions in place but if they aren't moving the system in the direction we need it to move, then we need to be re-evaluating."

Carroll also says the goal of having a tiered model will allow for a more accessible education system.

"We're on this journey of change within our inclusive education system and part of that is we need to get in and start moving on those tiers," she says. "Which are supposed to support all students with diverse needs and ensuring that every student has success."

But she says the most important thing is continuing the conversation.

"I believe if we put the needs of students first and we have open, honest conversations with parents, educators and the professionals that are involved in the learning plan for that student, we can't go wrong," Carroll adds.

Autism NS also hopes the province follows the example of others that are blazing the trail.

"The door is starting to open to more consultation, using the expertise that we know exists across the province," Carroll says. "Bring the people to the table that can get the work done in a timely way and move it forward for the students."


Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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