Autism Services

Autism Resources

Background on the Ontario Autism Program (OAP)

In December 2019 the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced the key elements of a revamped OAP system including:

These services are available to children/families registered in the OAP, and are moving to full implementation over the next year. A new intake/access path to the range of OAP is under development with the creation of an Independent Intake Organization

Foundational Family Services – provided by Maltby Centre in KFLA and ConnectWell in LLG

Services will be available through select providers and may include the following types of options:

  • Family and peer mentoring – share experiences in a supportive, informative and social atmosphere
  • Caregiver workshops and follow-up coaching sessions – information, education and resources on a variety of topics
  • Brief targeted consultations – direct support to help address a specific need and support your child’s skill development
  • Transition supports – help preparing for your child’s personal and educational transitions as well as transitions to adulthood
  • Family resource and clinic days – brainstorm, consult and problem-solve with professionals

Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs – provided by KidsInclusive

Caregiver-mediated early years programs support families with young children ages 12 months to 48 months (4 years). The programs help young children learn new skills and meet individualized goals.
Through these programs, parents and caregivers learn therapeutic strategies and specific techniques from professionals based on their child’s individual needs. The programs aim to build parents’ and caregivers’ capacity to support their child’s skill development in:

  • Social interaction
  • Play
  • Communication
  • Emotional development
  • Adaptive development and self-help skills

The programs are play-based, child-led and developmentally appropriate. Programs are free of charge and available for up to six months per child. Service providers offer one or more of the following six caregiver-mediated early years programs.

  • Early social interaction/social communication emotional regulation and transactional supports (ESI/SCERTS)
  • Joint attention, symbolic play, engagement and regulation (JASPER)
  • Pivotal response treatment (PRT)
  • PLAY project
  • Project ImPACT
  • Social ABCs

Eligible families can access these programs for free.

Entry to School – service provided by ACT Learning Centre

The entry to school program includes two main parts. The first part is a six-month, group-based, skill-building program, focused on helping children develop school-readiness skills in six areas:

  • Communication – such as, conversation, expressing wants and needs, understanding words and language, social communication, and non-verbal communication
  • Play – such as, toy exploration, and engaging in group play/games
  • Social interaction – such as, understanding of social boundaries, interactions with peers, and learning new behaviours by observing/imitating peers
  • Functional routines – such as, following classroom routines, and self-help skills such as dressing and toilet training
  • Behavioural self-management – such as, emotional regulation and being able to wait their turn
  • Pre-academics, learning and attention – such as, developing new learning skills, working within a group setting, and independent work

The group-based program is multi-disciplinary and delivered by staff with expertise in:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Applied behaviour analysis
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Early childhood development

Eligible children does NOT include those:

  • who are receiving core clinical services
  • who have an active behaviour plan
  • who have already started attending school
  • who start participating in a caregiver-mediated early years program in April or later in the year that they will start school

Independent Intake Organization (IIO) – Access OAP

In December 2021 the Provincial Government announced that the IIO will be delivered through a partnership between Accerta Services Inc., McMaster University, Autism Ontario, and HealthCare 365. The IIO partners bring together significant experience in administering public programs, supporting children and youth on the autism spectrum and their caregivers, care coordination, service navigation, research, and healthcare education. The IIO is scheduled to start supporting families in spring 2022 and will play a key role in providing more families with funding to purchase core clinical services for their children and youth. These services include applied behaviour analysis, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health services.