Families of children who have autism will have more options for their loved ones’ support by the end of the year through the Ontario Autism Program (OAP).
Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau made the announcement while visiting Monarch House, in Oakville on May 18th, 2017, to speak with families about Ontario’s commitment to flexible services and supports for children and youth with autism.
“I want all families to experience a smooth transition into the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) starting this June. That means that families currently receiving direct funding will continue to receive that funding until the direct funding option in the new OAP is implemented later this year. I want to reassure parents the support you are receiving now through the direct funding option will not stop in June and will continue until you enter the new program. The changes we are introducing are the first steps in building an OAP that is co-ordinated, family-centred and responsive to children’s unique needs, strengths and goals.”
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services
By the end of this year, the province will implement a new direct funding option as part of the OAP. This will allow all families to choose between receiving direct service or receiving funding to purchase services for their child. Families currently receiving direct funding will continue to receive their funding throughout the transition, and will be able to choose the new OAP direct funding option to receive services from their preferred provider.
Next month, families will begin to transition into the new OAP, which will provide services that are flexible and tailored to the unique needs of each child, regardless of age. The program will be implemented gradually over the coming year, with the program expected to be fully in place by spring 2018. The new program includes a single point of entry for families to more easily access services and will create 16,000 new spaces over five years, so that more children and youth with autism can receive the services they need sooner.
The province will continue to engage with families, caregivers, advocates, clinicians and providers, including the OAP Advisory Committee, to ensure the new program is providing the best possible supports and services for children and youth with autism, from diagnosis to adulthood.
- Parents can call 1-888-284-8340 toll-free for more information or to find their nearest ministry regional office.
- Streamlined entry to autism services through a toll-free number in families’ regions will also be provided as part of the new OAP.
- Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong, complex neurodevelopmental disorder. It is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction and repetitive behaviour. Symptoms of autism vary significantly and range in severity.
- Ontario is investing an unprecedented half-billion dollars over the next four years to create new services for children and youth with ASD.
There are an estimated 40,000 children and youth in Ontario with ASD.
Starting next month, families will begin to transition into the Ontario Autism Program, with the program expected to be fully in place by spring 2018. Parents can call 1-888-284-8340 for more information or to find their nearest ministry regional office.
You can check the Ministry of Children and Youth Services website for more details of the Ontario Autism Program.