This post was written in collaboration with Peel Autism Resource.
Please note there are hyperlinks in this post
This infographic shows the various components of the "needs based" OAP (Ontario Autism Program). The program consists of both direct funding and funded (free) programs.
(A view-only link of this hyperlinked infographic can be accessed here)
1) Core Clinical Services is direct funding given to families to cover:
core services (ABA, speech services, OT, mental health services)
technology (requires a letter of recommendation from a regulated health professional or Board Certified Behaviour Analyst / BCBA delivering or overseeing services to the child)
program materials and/or other therapy equipment (requires a letter of recommendation from a regulated health professional or Board Certified Behaviour Analyst / BCBA delivering or overseeing services to the child)
Guidelines for Core Clinical Services and supports can be found here
AccessOAP is the Independent Intake Organization handling the administration of the OAP. They send out invitations to Core Clinical Services in order by registration date.
[NOTE: ABA is not regulated yet but will be starting July 2024. So, parents/caregivers need to do their due diligence when looking for a provider. Go here for questions to ask and things to consider if looking into ABA services]
2) Foundational Family Services are free supports for families that can include:
Family and peer mentoring
Caregiver workshops and follow-up 1:1 coaching sessions
Brief targeted consultations
Family resource and clinic days
Everyone registered in the Ontario Autism Program is eligible to receive Foundational Family Services. These are unlimited - meaning you can register for as many as you want. Go here for more information.
3) Caregiver Mediated Early Years Programs (CMEY) are free evidence-based programs to help parents/caregivers learn techniques to support their children's learning. The programs offered are:
4) Entry to School Program (ETS) is for children starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time (NOTE: If your child is already attending school, they are not eligible to attend. But, you may still receive an invitation if your child is in the eligible age range as MCCSS does not have access to school registration information).
Elements of this free program will include:
a six-month, group-based, skill-building program focused on preparing children to start school
transition supports for children when they begin school
consultations to support a successful transition for the first six months a child is in school upon request
Eligible children will participate in this program before their school start date. The focus of the program will be on preparing children to enter school. Following the group-based program, OAP community providers will work with a child’s identified school to support the child’s transition to school. Children who complete the program will receive transition supports from the OAP community provider as they enter school, and families and educators will have access to targeted consultation support, upon request, from OAP community providers during a child’s first six months in school to support a successful school transition.
5) Urgent Response Services (URS) are free time-limited supports that will provide a rapid response to a specific, identified need to prevent further escalation or risk of harm to the child or youth, other people or property.
An urgent response service plan based on your and/or your child’s needs will provide one or more of the following services and supports for up to 12-weeks:
short-term consultation with an interdisciplinary team, which may include clinicians, family members and/or educators
time-limited respite support
service navigation to existing services within and outside of the OAP
direct support to the family and/or relevant professionals to implement behaviour intervention and therapy techniques
For more information about the OAP and how to register, please go to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) website here
News release: Ontario to Implement Needs-Based Autism Program In-Line with Advisory Panel's Advice (Dec 2019)
News release: Ontario Provides More Supports for Families of Children on the Autism Spectrum (Aug 2020)
News release: Ontario Expanding Supports for Families of Children with Autism (Feb 2021)
Backgrounder: New Core Services for Children in the Ontario Autism Program (Feb 2021)
News release: Ontario Building Capacity to Support Children on the Autism Spectrum (July 2021)
News release: Ontario Increasing Access to Services for Children with Autism ( Dec 2021)
Backgrounder: Ontario Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum and their Families (Dec 2021)