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SECTION 3: ACCESS TO THE ONTARIO AUTISM PROGRAM

The overall goal is to establish a collaborative, community-based approach to streamline access to the OAP, and to help children, youth and their families access appropriate services and supports quickly and easily.

Eligibility

All children and youth with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder from a qualified professional can access the OAP until the age of 18. Eligibility will not be defined by age or by the severity of a child’s autism.

Children and youth may be receiving or waiting for other ASD-specific or general services and supports funded by MCYS or other ministries2 and they may continue to receive these services in addition to receiving services through the OAP. Other services and supports that children are receiving will be taken into consideration in the development of the OAP Family Service Plan.

Children who may have previously been deemed ineligible for the former Autism Intervention Program (AIP), or who have been discharged from the AIP are eligible for the OAP, and will receive service according to their needs, as long as they have a diagnosis of ASD and are under the age of 18.

Referral for Services

In order to access services through the OAP, families/caregivers can self-refer to the OAP, or with the family’s consent, a referral can be made by a professional such as:

Referrals may also be received directly from the five MCYS-funded regional ASD diagnostic hubs. More information on the hubs can be found on the Ministry’s website at: https//www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/autism/diagnostic-hubs.aspx.

A written diagnosis of ASD from a qualified professional is required for referral to the OAP. Referrals for service will be accompanied by relevant assessments and other information pertaining to the child or youth and their family that will assist in the development of the OAP Family Service Plan. Where a diagnosis of ASD has been made by the referring professional, all required assessment information and documentation pertaining to that diagnosis will be included with the referral.

Single Point of Access

All referrals to the OAP as of June 26, 2017 will be made through a single point of access in each of the nine service areas.3

Specifically, the single point of access is required to:

Management of Referrals

One service provider in each of the nine service areas is responsible for maintaining the OAP waitlist using a first-come first served principle. Families can call the single point of access in their service delivery area with questions regarding the waitlist and/or wait times. Providers will proactively and transparently communicate estimated wait times to families.

New families entering the OAP as of June 26, 2017 will be added to the OAP waitlist in chronological order based on date of referral. While families may contact the OAP prior to receiving a written diagnosis, their child will not be placed on the wait list until the OAP service provider receives a written diagnosis of ASD from a relevant professional who is qualified to make a diagnosis.

During the phased implementation period from June 2017 to the spring of 2018, families currently waiting for service will enter the OAP based on their position on the current ABA waitlist (chronological order). Where families were on both the waitlist for the Autism Intervention Program and ABA-based services and supports prior to June 26, 2017 and the date of referral is different for each list, the earliest date of referral will be used.

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