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Autism and Intellectual Disabilities: Much-needed Help for Families in Quebec

Miriam Foundation Announces Breakthrough Partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services

MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 09/22/14 -- The Miriam Foundation is proud to announce the breakthrough partnership it will be creating with Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services and the FQCRDITED (Federation quebecoise des centres de readaptation en deficience intellectuelle et en troubles envahissants du developpement) to improve the lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and Intellectual disabilities (IDs) and their families.

A Priority: Attacking Waitlists

The Miriam Foundation will contribute the necessary human and financial resources to help eliminate the current waitlists for diagnosis for young children with possible autism, intellectual disabilities or global developmental delays on the island of Montreal as a priority program. Today, some 800 children wait between 12 and 24 months for a diagnosis at Montreal hospital centres and other clinics.

The Foundation will also support first line public programs to support and guide families following a diagnosis over the next four years, after which the public service network will assume complete responsibility for these services, offered at three different locations: CRDITED de Montreal, Centre de readaptation de l'Ouest de Montreal (CROM) and CRDITED Miriam. The FQCRDITED will assist in the management of the required transformations to bring about the improved efficiencies. With the first line resources freed up thanks to the Miriam Foundation support, the Ministry has pledged to intensify specialized early intervention services for children with ASD and ID.

For Warren Greenstone, CEO of the Miriam Foundation, "Today is an important and historic day for families across the province that are touched by ASD and ID. This agreement heralds the beginning of a new era of partnership with the Quebec government. We have waited a long time for this, and we are optimistic about the outcomes of this agreement."

The Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection and Public Health, Lucie Charlebois, was present in support of this new collaboration. Diane Proulx Guerrera, Chairperson of the Board at the Miriam Foundation appreciated the Minister's collaboration: "Thanks to Minister Charlebois' leadership and vision, there is now some hope that the challenging situation in which thousands have found themselves will begin to improve. Our shared hope is that the Ministry will continue, through concrete actions to support our Foundation's mission of helping people with ASD and ID to lead more fulfilling lives."

These initiatives will be gradually implemented starting in 2015.

A Major Donation from the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation

In October of 2013, the Miriam Foundation launched its "See Things My Way" campaign, with the announcement that Jean Coutu would act as a Co-chair. Today, Marie-Josee Coutu, President of the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation announced a five million dollar donation to the Miriam Foundation. Although not present, Jean Coutu, Chairman of the Board of The Jean Coutu Group, said via video that "through this donation, we believe that financial and human resources will be better allocated to support the growing needs of families touched by ASDs and other developmental problems. We must ensure that children and adults touched by these disorders can live full and productive lives. There is so much hope for them; our foundations want to give them every chance to succeed."

Official Spokesperson: Charles Lafortune

Mr. Charles Lafortune, a major TV and Radio celebrity in Quebec, officially announced his role in the See Things My Way campaign: he will act as a spokesperson to help the campaign raise the much-needed awareness and funds for the many programs the Miriam Foundation plans to launch in the coming years. "This campaign, and the Miriam Foundation, are going to make a real difference for thousands of families. I can attest to the difficulties that families face: from waiting for a diagnosis, to waiting for services, to integrating into the school system, we know that ASD is a lifelong condition, and we count on programs like those offered by the Miriam Foundation to help us. I am very proud to have been asked to be a part of this incredible movement; I hope that all Quebecers will join me in supporting it."

About the Miriam Foundation

The Miriam Foundation has been dedicated for over 40 years to ensuring that greater insight and new research improve the quality of life for all those affected with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and intellectual disabilities (IDs). The Foundation is committed to raising and investing funds, and providing the leadership required to:

--  Create and support developmental, clinical, vocational, residential, and
    respite programs for children and adults living with ASDs and IDs.
--  Offer education and training to professionals, caregivers and family
--  Foster specialized research focusing on improving diagnosis and
    developing new treatments and interventions for people with ASDs and
--  Deliver social and recreational activities to promote inclusion.

Stay connected with the Miriam Foundation on Facebook and on Twitter

About See Things My Way

See Things My Way is the Miriam Foundation's innovative awareness and fundraising campaign, co-chaired by Aldo Bensadoun, Founder and Executive Chairman of the ALDO Group, and by Jean Coutu, Chairman of the Board of the Jean Coutu Group Inc.

There is an urgent need to create a stronger awareness among people of the growing needs of families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and Intellectual Disabilities (IDs), in order to help them receive better support. The campaign strives to bring about changes that will enable the creation of a larger array of higher-quality services in Quebec and Canada through increased development of pilot and demonstration projects.

For more information or to arrange an interview:
Olivier Gagnon
514 845-7087
[email protected]

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