Families in the Comox Valley are having a hard time getting their kids the help they need.

That’s what the Comox Valley Child Development Association says when it comes to parents waiting to get Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments.

Autism Program Manager April Statz says growing wait times for ASD assessments have been a historical problem for families’ province-wide and right now, there are up to two-year waitlists for families. 

“It’s been several years that the waitlist for assessments has been going up and up and of course COVID didn’t help that. Early intervention is the key right, so let’s say you’re getting on the list at four, you wouldn’t get in until six. So you’ve lost all that time.”

“I found out recently that private waitlists are now at about two years too in a lot of the clinics as well. So you don’t even have a route to go get a diagnosis assessment for your child so it was time to see if we could think outside the box and do something,” explained Statz.

To help combat this, Statz says the association will be hosting a pilot Assessment Clinic with a Licensed Private Psychologist in August.

She also says they weren’t sure what the need would be in the valley, but after announcing the clinic, it’s clear these are needed. 

“I can tell you that right now, since we put this out there…the first clinic is being done by a very experienced gentleman. It’s two days and he will do four. The next clinics that come along will probably only do two kids a clinic, and I have enough on my waitlist now for four or five clinics.”

If the pilot project is successful, the game plan is to offer regular clinics to help get kids with ASD the support they need as early as possible.

Any child who has been referred by a pediatrician or physician for an ASD assessment and who currently live in the Comox Valley will be allowed to sign up for the clinics.

They  will take place on August 18th and 19th, and will be held place at the mainCVCDA offices in downtown Courtenay (237 3rd Street).

If you want to learn more about the clinic, or the Comox Valley Child Development Association, visit their website here