The Ontario Autism Program launched in June 2017, and is intended to provide a single point of access for service provision to children in Ontario under the age of 18, with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The MCYS website describes the following objectives of the program:
These services will be flexible, individualized and family-centred, and based on a clinical assessment of your child’s or youth’s unique needs. Services are not defined by your child’s age or the severity of their autism. All behavioural services delivered in the OAP are evidence based and integrate best research evidence into the decision making process.MCYS Website
Services offered under this program include family services and training, evidence-based behavioural services, and a family support worker (your main point of contact/system navigator).
How do I access services through the Ontario Autism Program?
Once a medical professional has provided a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, families can register for the OAP by contacting their regional service provider. Once a written diagnosis by a medical professional is received by the agency, your child will be added to the waitlist for evidence-based behavioural service. This waitlist runs in chronological order by date added, regardless of the severity of your child’s needs.
Once you have been added to the waitlist, your regional service provider and/or Family Services Worker will work with you to develop a Family Service Plan, incorporating your child’s strengths, needs, and goals.
Within six weeks, you will also be provided with parent caregiver services, which can include workshops and information sessions about OAP, ASD, and Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA).
Once your child comes up on the waitlist, you will be able to choose between receiving services at a regional provider, or choosing direct funding to purchase services.
As of October 2018, the waitlists are very significant, with providers estimating approximately a two-year wait after registration is received.