Ontario is transforming the way children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and their families, receive services through the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). Families began to enter the OAP in June 2017. The vision of the OAP is to give children and youth with ASD access to the timely and effective services they need to achieve their goals at home, at school, in the community, and as they transition into adulthood. The OAP provides all families of children and youth with ASD with flexible, family-centred services based on each child’s unique needs
The key components of the new program, which began June 26, 2017, include:
- A single point of access. There will be one entry point to the OAP in each of the nine service areas to make it easier for families to access services for their child.
- Family-centred decision making. As key partners in their child’s care, families will be actively engaged in the assessment, goal-setting and intervention planning process for their child.
- Collaborative approach to service. A foundation of the new OAP will be the collaborative approach taken by community support service providers, clinicians and educators to support children’s needs at home, during service and in school.
- Service based on need. Services will be flexible and individualized. The intensity and duration of the services a child or youth receives is based on their needs and strengths, regardless of age. Each child’s service plan will be determined by clinical assessment.
- A direct funding option. A new direct funding option has been developed and provides all families with a choice between receiving direct service or receiving funding to purchase their child’s service.
- Safe, effective autism services. The province intends to regulate ABA practitioners to help ensure families receive safe, high-quality services, have confidence in their providers and know where to go if they have a concern.
In Durham Region the OAP is a collaborative approached offered by Grandview Kids, Lake Ridge Community Support Services, Kinark Child and Family Services, and Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth – Durham Region for intake and service delivery, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for evaluation purposes.
The government is committed to ensuring families are supported through a smooth and seamless transition as they enter the new OAP. Transition planning within the new program will be individualized, planned in advance and will be achieved in partnership with each child’s family, OAP professionals and service providers. Children and youth with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder from a qualified professional will be eligible for the OAP up until the age of 18.
The province has worked closely with families, caregivers, advocates, clinicians and providers to build the new OAP, and will continue to engage with key stakeholders, including the OAP Advisory Committee, on the design and implementation of the new program. The new OAP will be fully in place by spring 2018.
In the event that families have concerns about their child's OAP Behaviour Plan, families should speak with their OAP service provider to discuss these concerns. If a family's concerns cannot be resolved internally with their service provider, they can request an Independent Clinical Review of their child's plan. For more information please refer to the Independent Clinical Review Process for OAP or Family Information on the Independent Clinical Review Process.
Additional information may also be found on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services website at: