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Appendix: Services and Supports for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A range of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)-based services continued to benefit approximately 8,000 children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2014-15. These services help young people with ASD become more independent, develop communication, social, behaviour management and daily living skills, and cope better in school.

In 2014-15, approximately 2,074 children received Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) through the Autism Intervention Program (AIP).

Training and support continued to be offered to parents so they can incorporate strategies into daily activities at home and further develop the skills their children are learning at school and/or in a program delivered by an autism service provider. This training and support helps parents better address the needs of their children and build their own skills.

In 2014-15, the ministry continued to:

  • Support the Potential Program (formerly known as Realize Community Potential), which helps reduce the stress on families by providing supports like parent networking opportunities, training and access to ASD experts and resources;
  • Provide funding to help children and youth with ASD attend March break programs and summer camps, where children enjoy making new friends, learning new skills, and participating in activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, bowling, skating, and music;
  • Fund respite services for families caring for a child with ASD; and
  • Work with the Ministry of Education to help children leaving the AIP and starting or continuing in a publicly-funded school through the Connections for Students collaborative service delivery model. This model provides multi-disciplinary transition teams for children in all 72 publicly-funded school boards across the province.

The ASD Clinical Expert Committee continued to provide the ministry with expert advice on up-to-date and evidence-based research to help inform policy and program development. In addition, the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) continued to allow families to request an independent review of decisions about their child's eligibility for, or discharge from, IBI services provided through the AIP. This enhances consistency, transparency, and fairness in clinical decision-making. The IRM applies to all MCYS-funded IBI service providers in the province.

The ministry also continued to provide funding for the Grant Assistance Program (GAP). This program offers tuition reimbursement for qualifying academic programs in exchange for continuous employment to currently employed staff of the AIP and ABA-based services and supports.