Helping children and families transition to the new Ontario Autism Program

In spring 2016, when the Government of Ontario announced changes to the provision of autism services in the province, Kinark acted quickly to support both families whose children were already in service, as well as those who were awaiting service through the new Ontario Autism Program.

We established a team of Family Resource and Support Coordinators to help families leaving the waitlist to access one-time funding, and locate service providers and other community resources and supports for their children and youth as they awaited service transition to the OAP.

Over the past 18 months, Kinark’s Family Resource and Support Team helped approximately 500 families awaiting service in the OAP. According to the results of an ongoing survey of the families served in this way, the experience has been positive. Eighty-five per cent of the 258 respondents to the survey agreed that Kinark staff understood their needs, and that they felt supported by Kinark through their transition to the OAP.

At the same time, Kinark’s Autism program developed an enhanced range of behavioural services to support children in intensive service for whom a more varied and individualized set of service options was required. These flexible services offered children the opportunity to receive the intensity and amount of programming best suited to their individual needs and supported success at home, in school and in the community as children transitioned to the new OAP.

Our Autism Services team continues to work closely with families as they transition to the OAP, the implementation of which continues.

In June 2017, Kinark Child and Family Services took on a new role as the Single Point of Access (SPOA) to the OAP for children and youth, aged 0-18 years, living in York and Durham Regions, Simcoe County, and the four Counties of Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough and Northumberland. Families looking for autism services and supports in these geographic areas can call 1-888-454-6275 to register in the OAP.