Ontario's Special Needs Strategy

Ontario is taking steps to help children and youth with special needs get the timely and effective services they need at home, at school, in the community and as they transition to adulthood. We’re working together with service providers and educators across Ontario to develop these services.

Our Progress

Ontario’s Special Needs Strategy connects children and youth to the services they need as early as possible and improves the service experience of families. We are making progress in three key areas:

  1. Identifying kids’ needs earlier and connecting them to the right help sooner
    • Trained providers will have a new developmental screening process for children in the preschool years. They will screen for potential risks to the child’s development as early as possible.
  2. Coordinating service planning
    • Service planning coordinators for children and youth with multiple and/or complex special needs will connect families to the right services and supports.
  3. Making the delivery of rehabilitation services seamless
    • Integrating the delivery of rehabilitation services, specifically speech-language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Services will be easier to access and seamless from birth through the school years.

Proposals for coordinated services planning and the local delivery of rehabilitation services have been received. We are now working with identified agencies, children’s service providers, Community Care Access Centres and school boards, to implement coordinated service planning across Ontario in 2016.

Coordinated service planning will provide a single service plan that considers each child or youth’s goals, strengths and needs. Service planning coordinators will lead the development of service plans and will work with families and service providers across the sectors.

The Road Ahead

The next steps to implement rehabilitation services will occur in spring 2016.

We will continue to work with parents, youth, service providers and educators to improve outcomes for children and youth with special needs. We are moving towards a system that is more accessible, coordinated and centred on the needs of children, youth and their families.

Learn More:

A greeting from Minister MacCharles

<a href="http://www.videodelivery.gov.on.ca/player/download.php?file=http://www.media.gov.on.ca/3f8703739f0d5a1c/en/transcripts/page.html">Transcript of "A greeting from Minister MacCharles"</a>

Transcript | Mobile

Parent video

<a href="http://www.videodelivery.gov.on.ca/player/download.php?file=http://www.media.gov.on.ca/935927b90e33a63d/en/transcripts/page.html">Transcript of "The Parent video"</a>

Transcript | Mobile