First of all, breathe. Learning that your child has ASD may sometimes be a shock. You may feel sad, angry, bewildered, devastated, or relieved. You may not feel anything at all. As difficult as it is, keep in mind that your child has not changed. He/she is still the same child now as he/she was before the diagnosis. But, knowing is the first step to getting the help your child needs. While getting services is important, also take time to take care of yourself and the rest of your family. Your child will need you and his/her loved ones more than ever. Be strong.
Some of these steps are specific to Peel region. If you are in Ontario, go to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services website to learn more about the provincial Autism Intervention Program (AIP) and to find your regional agency.
You should also download the Ministry’s “Autism Parent Resource Guide”. This is a new, comprehensive online resource to help families better understand autism and the range of services and supports available in Ontario.
People outside of Ontario (but in Canada) can go to either Autism Canada or Autism Awareness Centre to look up resources within your province/territory.
1. Contact Erinoak Kids to initiate a referral for eligibility screening for IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention)*
2. Contact Kerry’s Place Autism Service (KPAS) to register for ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) supports*
* You will need to provide documentation from a recognized medical professional that states your child has been diagnosed with ASD.
NOTE: Keep in mind that the ABA supports from the province should be considered as parent training – not therapy. If your child does not qualify for IBI services from the province, it does not necessarily mean that IBI is not suitable for them. It just means they are not eligible for the program. Families may still get IBI done privately.
There is a wait list for both ABA and IBI services from the province. So, you may consider looking into getting a private provider. This may be in-home or centre-based. However, it would be out-of-pocket. To find ABA/IBI providers in Ontario, use Abacus – http://www.abacuslist.ca/ or the list on the Autism Ontario (Peel Chapter) website – http://www.autismontario.com/client/aso/ao.nsf/Peel/ABA_IBI. (Peel Autism Resource does not endorse any of the providers listed)
3. Contact Kids Pathways Peel for service coordination
4. Connect with your local chapter of Autism Ontario
5. Have your doctor complete the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) application
6. Complete the Special Services at Home (SSAH) application
NOTE: There is a wait list for these funds.
7. Complete Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) application – if eligible (income dependent)
8. Take advantage of the free workshops that both Erinoak Kids (or other regional agency) and Kerry’s Place have to offer. Not only will you learn more about ASD, but you will also learn strategies that can help your child now while you wait for services.
9. Implement these “Top 10 Essentials” at home.
10. Get a binder.
Seriously. Get a big one too because it will fill up quickly. I cannot tell you how important it is to keep all the information on your child in one place. This will be the place where you keep copies of the diagnostic report, any assessments, contact information, applications you’ve filled out, letters, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But, it is a must. Here are the sections in my own binder but you may certainly change it up to suit your needs.
– General Information About ASD
– Resources (this is where I keep contact information of community agencies, regional providers, and recreational programs)
– Funding (list of grants, government programs, recreational/respite funding, financial planning information, and copies of applications that have been submitted)
– Letter of Diagnosis/Assessment Reports
– Contacts (anyone who has worked with, is currently working with, and may work with my child is here)
– School Information (this is where I keep copies of his IEPs, report cards, safety plans, assessments)
11. Knowledge is power! Go to this post to find more information about ASD.
12. For more information and resources, go to this post.
Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list. This is just a preliminary start.