** Please note that there are hyperlinks within this post **
FYI Ontario families:
A couple of months ago, Minister Coteau announced that the roll out of the new OAP (Ontario Autism Program) would begin June 26th. The current streams of service – AIP (Autism Intervention Program), ABA-based supports program, and 8K/10K payouts – will eventually be replaced with this new program. But, it will be a slow implementation. Some regional providers are still offering families blocks under the ABA-based supports program. Note that these sessions are time-limited and may not be intensive enough for challenging behavioural issues. Most regional providers follow a parent training model. It would be wise to ask what taking that block would mean to your placement on the OAP wait list. Everything must carefully considered before accepting or deferring. The direct funding option that many families are anxiously waiting for will not be available until the end of the year (fingers crossed) and full implementation of the program is slated for 2018.
For more details about the OAP, go to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services website. Newly diagnosed families should contact the OAP single point of access for their region. If you are still seeking a diagnosis, the province has also set up diagnostic hubs that are meant to help families get diagnostic assessments more quickly.
While many details of the new program have yet to be established, the Ministry has released two documents. The OAP Guidelines provides operational guidance for autism service agencies and set expectations for the delivery of the OAP across the province. The OAP Clinical Framework will be used, along with the program guidelines, to guide clinicians in working with families to assess children’s needs and plan their behavioural services. The framework will be evaluated in Fall 2017 before the OAP is fully implemented in Spring 2018.
There are still many things that families can do while waiting for their spot in the OAP to come up.
- Hire a private provider
- Implement some of these strategies at home
- Connect with their local chapter of Autism Ontario
- Look into financial assistance resources
- Seek out supports and services within the region
Other resources to consider:
- Association For Science in Autism Treatment
- Autism Spectrum Disorder Resource Centre
- Autism Spectrum Disorders—Canadian-American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC)
- Hanen Centre
3. Social Stories
- Interacting With Autism
- Autism Ontario
- Children’s Specialized Hospital
- Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative (CSRI)