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Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s Autism Programs - Winter/Spring 2020

Holland Bloorview has created new program offerings focused on autism that are being delivered by caring and highly qualified professionals.  Our program has been designed to support families navigating the recent changes to OAP and to meet the diverse needs of children with autism.  Some programs are free, and others require a fee. Those requiring a fee are eligible under the new “Childhood Budgets”. 

Our winter/spring 2020 programs, listed below, include a number of services designed to meet the diverse needs of children and youth with autism and their families.

Please note that these programs are open to all children/youths and are NOT exclusive to Holland Bloorview clients or children/youths who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, please keep in mind that these programs are primarily designed to target  the needs of families of children and youth with autism.

Registration process

EventBrite is an online registration and payment processing portal that will be used to register for the services found below. Once you click Register, you will be directed to the EventBrite website to register for the desired service and to process payments (if applicable).

Parent Education and Support (FREE programming)

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Autism Programs Open House  

Featuring Dr. Jessica Brian, psychologist, assistant professor at the University of Toronto and co-lead of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

For the past two decades, Jessica has played a major role in the Canadian Infant Siblings research program aimed at understanding the emergence of Autism Spectrum Disorder and ongoing developmental pathways into adolescence. Through this work, she co-developed the Social ABCs, a play- and routines-based parent-mediated intervention for toddlers with emerging ASD or related social-communication challenges.

In this presentation, Dr. Brian will discuss the importance of using play and daily routines to enhance a child’s communication skills and help with building positive social relationships. She will share general strategies that can inform best practice and be used by parents, caregivers and health professionals to support a child’s development.

This event will be of interest to parents, caregivers, physicians, allied health professionals, support staff, teachers and other educational professionals who work with young children and toddlers with autism.

Staff from the Autism Programs will be present at this event to answer questions you may have about our service offerings. Please register for this very special evening, here.

Date and time
Jan. 30, 2020
6-8 p.m.

Location
Holland Bloorview Cafeteria

Space is limited 

To register, click here.


Understanding Autism Funding and Services 

Accessing and learning about the Childhood Budgets and how to use them as well as navigating the system can be challenging for families. This workshop will give parents and caregivers an overview of key information to help them navigate the new system. 

Presenters
Pam Green, nurse practitioner

Date and time
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
10 - 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
6:30 – 8 p.m.

What past participants said about this workshop
“The workshop was very helpful and worthwhile. Thank you!”
“The handouts were very helpful.”
“The explanations about the different types of therapies available were helpful.”

To register for this program, click here.

Early Intervention Programs

Social ABCs: Parent-Mediated Early Intervention Program

Social ABCs is a caregiver-mediated intervention for toddlers with suspected or confirmed autism or related social communication challenges. Developed by a team of Canadian researchers, including Holland Bloorview’s own Dr. Jessica Brian, Social ABCs is considered to be a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Intervention (NDBI). NDBI is an evidence-based intervention recommended for toddlers with autism designed to be implemented in natural settings, build on the child’s interests and motivation, make use of natural opportunities for learning, and use a variety of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) strategies to teach developmentally appropriate skills.

We offer a unique parent-training experience where caregivers learn techniques to foster their children’s development in partnership with a coach who supports their learning. The content of our service is developmental in nature and involves individual coaching sessions as well as didactic sessions with families around building children’s communication, emotion regulation, managing challenging behaviours, sharing positive emotions, encouraging play and social routines, and the importance of caregiver self-care.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Families of toddlers between the ages of 12 and 30 months
  • Toddlers who have been flagged by a pediatrician or a general practitioner as experiencing social communication delays
  • Toddlers must be able to move independently (e.g. scoot, crawl, walk, etc.)
  • One parent/caregiver per child will be coached. The same parent/caregiver must be available for all sessions. 
  • Program delivery is provided in English only at this time. Parents/caregivers must feel confident learning and communicating with their toddlers in English, even if a different language is spoken at home.

Presenters
Kate Perry, speech-language pathologist and Social ABCs parent coach
Kate Bernardi, Social ABCs parent coach

We offer families two options to become involved in this program:

Option 1: Social ABCs Parent Group Coaching Program (six-week program)

This program involves a total of 18 hours of direct intervention including 1:1 live practice and coaching at Holland Bloorview with didactic presentations delivered in small group format.

Cost: $2,500

Date: Wednesdays from 4:30 - 6 p.m. starting February 2020. Exact start date will be dependent on enrollment.

There are 9 individual parent-child coaching sessions in total: twice a week for the first three weeks of the program, and once a week for the last three weeks. The parent coach will connect with families over the phone to setup mutually convenient times for the individual sessions, which will take place during business hours. Prior to the group start, an additional short introductory session will be scheduled. Please note that all the sessions will take place at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Option 2: Social ABCs Individual Intervention Program (12 week program)

This option involves a trained Social ABCs parent coach delivering individualized training in the children’s natural environment (e.g., home/park) and coaching families on ways to engage their children in these environments within their daily routines and activities such as mealtime and bath time, and building social routines in play. This option includes 39 parent coaching hours.

Cost: $5,000

Date: Please contact Kate Perry at 416-425-6220 ext. 3256 prior to registering for the program, or for further details/questions.

To register for this program, click here.

Parent Coaching Intervention Groups

A Therapist's BEST Guide to Picky Eating

Children and youth with autism are likely to experience significant feeding challenges including but not limited to: highly selective eating, difficulties tolerating different food textures, delays in the development of chewing skills, etc. This intensive three hour parent coaching workshop is designed to meet parents' individual goals when it comes to supporting their children or youth to eat. Learn how to implement BEST* strategies to address picky eating challenges.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Families with children/youth who don’t have serious medical problems due to lack of eating

Presenter
Moira Pena, occupational therapist

Cost: $100

Date and time

April 24, 2020 - Parent(s) of children ages 1-6
May 1, 2020 - Parent(s) of children/youth ages 7+
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

What past participants said about this workshop 
“Very supportive group workshop setting. Thank you.”
“The workshop was very resourceful, very helpful and practical.” 
“I liked that the workshop was small and personal. It was valuable that I was able to send a video in before so that Moira could see exactly what was going on in our house.”

To register for this program, click here


Sensory Processing Challenges - Strategies that Help! 

Children and youth with autism experience sensory processing challenges that can significantly impair their daily functioning. This intensive three hour parent coaching workshop is designed to meet the parents' individual goals when it comes to supporting their children to meet their sensory processing needs. Learn about sensory processing and how to implement BEST strategies to address sensory issues.

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Parents of children/youth who experience sensory processing challenges which are interfering with their ability to participate in daily tasks

Presenter
Moira Pena, occupational therapist
 

    Cost: $100

    Date and time 
    April 3, 2020 - Parent(s) of children between the ages of 1 and 6
    April 17, 2020 - Parent(s) of children/youth ages 7+
    10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

    What past participants said about this workshop
    “I now have a better understanding of sensory processing. Thank you.”
    “I learned calming techniques and learned from other parents too.”

    To register for this program, click here.


    Toilet Training - Setting Up our Kids for Success 

    This parent coaching workshop will provide information on assessing your child's readiness for toilet training and will offer helpful hints to support him or her in moving towards independence.

    Eligibility Criteria
    •    Parents of children between the ages of 1 and 6 

    Presenters
    Erica Laframboise, board certified behaviour analyst 
    Ishanee Jahagirdar, occupational therapist 

    Cost: $50

    Date and time
    March 4, 2020
    6:30 - 8 p.m. 

    To register for this program, click here.


    Let’s Make Friends! Teaching Social Skills Using an Applied Behaviour Analysis Framework

    Children with autism experience social communication challenges which can impact the way they form social relationships. This may be apparent in the way they play and interact with their peers, teachers and family members. This parent coaching program includes a two hour group didactic session in which parents will learn how to use an evidence-based behavioural science approach to support and develop their children’s social skills. Following this didactic session, parents will book a 45 minute individual coaching session where they will receive 1:1 feedback from the speech-language pathologist on the use of social skills strategies with their children.  

    Eligibility Criteria

    • Parents of verbal children between the ages of 3 and 10 
    • Children who experience difficulties in the areas of social play, social conversation and/or perspective-taking
    • Social difficulties must not be due to significant behaviour concerns such as aggression or non-compliance

    Presenter
    Anjali Mulligan, speech-language pathologist with applied behavioural analysis training 
     

      Cost: $300

      Date and time
      Jan. 23, 2020
      6-8 p.m. 

      Individual sessions will be booked at a mutually convenient time following this session.

      To register for this program, click here.

      Group Interventions for Children and Youth

      Ready, Set, Print!

      This group is for children who are experiencing printing challenges (pencil grasp, legibility, decreased speed and irregular letter formation). The aim of this program is to have participants practice their printing in a fun and engaging environment. Caregivers will also learn new strategies and activities to keep their children interested in printing practice at home. Children will actively participate in gross motor and fine motor activities and will practice printing in multisensory ways. Caregivers are expected to attend the session as there is a caregiver education component and weekly homework.  Each group session is an hour and a half long and the group runs for four consecutive weeks. 

      Eligibility Criteria

      • Children between the ages of 5 and 8
      • A caregiver must be present for each session
      • Child must be able to sit/attend to an activity for 5-10 minutes
      • Child must be able to participate in group with caregiver present
      • Child must be able to demonstrate some early pre-printing skills (holding pencil, imitation of pre-printing shapes: lines, circles, cross)

      Presenters
      Megan Lynch, occupational therapist
      Simmy Kassam, occupational therapist
       

        Cost: $300

        Date and time
        Wednesdays, Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 4, March 11, 2020
        4 - 5:30 p.m.

        To register for this program, click here.


        Kindergarten Readiness Group

        This eight week program helps children learn and practice social routines alongside a parent or caregiver while engaging in activities typically offered in Kindergarten. Goals for this group may include but are not limited to: early self-care (e.g., washing hands), following routines, peer interactions, guided learning circle, pre-printing/printing skills, acceptance of sensory-craft materials, fine and gross motor play abilities and more.

        Eligibility Criteria

        • Children between the ages of 3 and 5 who are able to participate in an hour and a half long group format with supervision and guidance
        • A parent/caregiver for each child must attend to facilitate participation and learn strategies that can be carried over to the home environment

        Presenters
        Mary DiFrancesco, early childhood educator
        Nicole McAdams, early childhood educator
         

          Cost: $350

          Date and time
          Tuesdays, Feb. 4 – March 24, 2020 (8 weeks)
          1 - 2:30 p.m.

          Location
          This program will take place at the Play and Learn Nursery School Site
          666 Eglinton Ave W,
          Toronto, ON​​​​​
          M5N 1C3

          To register for this program, click here.


          Sensory Processing Through Play Group

          This ten week program allows children to participate in large scale art projects, music and movement, and guided physical play which help them explore what their body is feeling through their sensory systems. We will also provide opportunities for children to discover taste and texture during snack time. Activities in this program will be held indoors and outdoors, giving children the chance to work through individual sensory sensitivities and engage in activities that allow for the intensive exploration that some children seek. Outcomes for this group may include but are not limited to: acceptance of sensory materials, fine and gross motor discovery, peer interactions, guided learning circle, snack time routines and following transitions.

          We offer a flexible model of service and invite parents to participate in the first few sessions while their children become familiar with staff and the space. After that, if your children have adapted to the environment, you may wish to let them explore independently with the support of staff. Parents will be provided with tip sheets related to communication, proprioceptive supports, sensory exploration, and other practical suggestions on sensory-motor development through play.

          Eligibility Criteria

          • Children between the ages of 2 and 4, with autism (also open to other children with or without developmental delays) and able to participate in an hour and a half long group format with supervision and guidance
          • One parent or caregiver for each child is welcome to attend during the first few sessions to facilitate participation and learn strategies that can be carried over to the home environment
          • 1:1 support is not available at this time
             

          Presenters
          Mary DiFrancesco, early childhood educator
          Nicole McAdams, early childhood educators

          Cost: $400

          Date and time
          Thursdays, Feb. 6– April 9, 2020 (10 weeks)
          1:30 - 3 p.m.

          Location
          The program will take place at the Play and Learn Nursery School Site

          666 Eglinton Ave W,
          Toronto, ON​​​​​
          M5N 1C3

          To register for this program, click here.


          Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) for Adolescents

          PEERS® is an internationally acclaimed, evidence-based social skills intervention program for motivated adolescents and teens, aged 12-18. It consists of separate parent and youth sessions that meet at the same time for 90 minutes each week over a 14 week period. During each session, youth learn and practice social skills needed for making and keeping friends, while parents are taught how to assist their children through coaching and weekly socialization assignments.  PEERS® may be appropriate for youth with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, depression or other social disorders. Topics of instruction include:

          • How to start, enter, and exit conversations with peers
          • How to appropriately use electronic forms of communication
          • How to find friends and choose relevant social networks
          • How to use humor appropriately
          • How to organize and have get-togethers with friends
          • How to be a good sport
          • How to handle arguments and disagreements with friends
          • How to handle teasing, physical bullying, cyberbullying, and rumors or gossip
          • How to change a bad reputation
             

          Eligibility Criteria

          • Youth between the ages of 12 and 18 who are experiencing difficulties making and keeping friends
          • Youth are verbal and can follow didactic lessons presented in the groups (no significant language or cognitive concerns)
          • Youth have no significant behavioural concerns that would prevent  their participation in group (e.g., physical or verbal aggression)
          • Youth are interested in attending the program and agree to participate in the program voluntarily

          Presenters
          Anjali Mulligan, speech-language pathologist
          Ishanee Jahagirdar, occupational therapist


            Cost: $3,000

            Date and time

            The PEERS program will begin in March. Start date is dependent on enrollment.

            To register for this program, click here.


            Getting into the Game Groups (powered by Igniting Fitness Possibilities)

            Physical inactivity is a concern for children and youth with autism and others who experience motor co-ordination challenges as they are often less active than age-matched, typically developing peers. Getting Into The Game (GITG) is a 16 week inclusive physical literacy program designed to help children and youth gain a positive attitude towards physical activity and its benefits, develop the confidence to try new community-wide physical activities, form new friendships and become motivated to continue to engage in future physical activities. These coaching and participation sessions will allow children and youth to explore their interests in physical activity and to set individualized goals.

            Eligibility Criteria

            • Children/youth in grades 1 to 3 who want to become more physically active and would like to gain more confidence in their motor abilities
            • Children/ youth should be able to walk or move independently in a gym setting
            • Children/youth should be able to participate in a group session without the assistance of an aide.

            Presenters
            Christelle-Jean Chow, instructor/coach
            Jill Gilders, occupational and physical therapy assistant
             

              Cost: $150 (Children in Grades 1-3) 

              Date and time

              Part 1: Children in Grades 1-3
              Saturdays, Feb. 1 – March 7, 2020 (6 weeks)
              12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

              Part 2: Children in Grades 1-3
              Saturdays March 21 – May 23, 2020 (10 weeks)
              12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

              Please note that for the Winter/Spring 2020 sessions, the GITG groups are being generously funded by the National Bank and the Milos Raonic Foundation. A big thank you to our wonderful sponsors!

              To register for this program, click here.


              Kneuroknits

              Kneuroknits is a six week social knitting program designed for youth (14 to 20 years old) with autism spectrum disorder and/or other neurodevelopmental disorders, acquired brain injuries and/or individuals who experience physical coordination challenges. In the program, participants will learn knitting fundamentals with appropriate supports from facilitators and will have opportunities to socialize with peers over a shared occupation. The goals of the program are to foster a sense of accomplishment as participants will complete a finished product while actively engaging in group knitting benefits such as stress relief and relaxation.

              Please note that proficiency in knitting is not required. All materials will be provided.

              Eligibility Criteria

              • Participants should be able to tie their shoelaces independently
              • Participants should be able to follow multi-step instructions

              Presenters
              Kate Cook, knitting instructor
              Eric Smart, occupational therapist
              Ashley Rauh, therapeutic recreation assistant

              Cost: $200

              Date and time
              Saturdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and March 7, 14
              2 - 3:30 p.m.

              To register for this program, click here

              School-Aged Behavioural Therapy Interventions (BCBA-Led)

              Toilet Training Individualized Consultation

              Using a behavioural science approach, this individualized initial consultation will include caregiver education, customized tips and tricks and a written step by step toileting plan. Extra consultation sessions and support phone calls are available at a fee if needed.

              Please note that the parent coaching session ‘Toilet Training: Setting our Kids Up for Success’ is recommended prior to attending this individualized consultation session.

              Presenter
              Erica Laframboise, board certified behaviour analyst

              Cost: $130

              Date: the sessions are booked individually at a mutually convenient time after registering

              To register for this program, click here.

              Integrated Recreation and Respite Groups for Children and Youth

              Please visit Our Services page for a range of inclusive and integrated programs. Children and youth with autism are welcome to attend any of these programs provided they meet the eligibility criteria. 
               

              Quick links:

              Music Therapy

              Adapted Music Education

              Spiral Garden Summer Day Program

              Art Groups

              The Independence Program

              Youth at Work

              Snoezelen Sensory Room

              Adaptive Swimming & Sensory Pool

              Robotics

              Integrated Life Skills Program