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Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s Autism Programs - Fall 2019

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 fall 2019 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.

Parent Education and Support (FREE programming)

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Autism Programs Launch Event  

Featuring guest speaker Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, child neurologist and lead investigator in the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital 

In this presentation, Dr. Anagnostou will discuss new perspectives in our understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using the latest evidence from genetics, brain imaging, behaviour and treatment studies. She is passionate about translating science into information and strategies that can inform best practice and be used by parents, caregivers, health professionals and autistic individuals to support daily function. 

This event will be of interest to parents, caregivers, physicians, allied health professionals, support staff, autistic self-advocates, teachers and other educational professionals who work with children and youth with autism. 

Staff from the Autism Programs will be present at this event to answer any questions you may have about any of our service offerings. 

Date and time
Oct. 2, 2019  
6-8 p.m.

Space is limited 


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
Susan Cosgrove, parent leader
Alifa Khan, parent leader

Please note that special guest, Karie Evelyn, Autism Ontario’s service navigator, will join us for the Sept. 10 and Nov. 12 workshops. 

Date and time
Tuesday, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10
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.”


Paperwork Support for Parents 

This is a chance for parents and caregivers to come together to complete application and funding forms. A staff member will be available to answer questions related to the forms. 

Please note that this workshop is open to all families. 

Date and time 
Tuesday, Sept. 17, Oct. 15 and Nov.19 
6-8 p.m.


Parent Support Network - Daytime Support and Evening Expert Discussion Sessions

These workshops and support groups are open to parents and caregivers of children with any diagnosis. Please note that some of the evening sessions will feature guest speakers with expertise in working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

These sessions are open to all families. 

Date and time 
Thursday, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5
6-8 p.m.

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
     

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.

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

Cost: $2,500

Date
This program will begin the week of Oct. 28, 2019. The parent coaches will call families who have registered to set up mutually convenient times for the sessions.

Evidence Base
This program was built on the original home-based program, Option 2. The group model has been provided to approximately 30 families. Early analyses show that parents can learn the techniques in this time frame and many of the toddlers make gains in social communication. Parents learn techniques they can continue to use with their toddlers after the program ends.
 

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 23 parent coaching hours.

Presenters
Kristina Paul, Social ABCs parent coach
Natalie Rugajs, Social ABCs parent coach

Cost: $5,000

Date
This program will begin the week of Oct. 14, 2019. The parent coaches will connect with families over the phone to set up a mutually convenient time.

Location
All the sessions will take place at the family’s home.

Evidence Base
This program has been evaluated through a pilot study and randomized control trial. Analyses show that parents gain confidence in implementing the taught techniques, and many of the toddlers make improvements in social communication at a pace (on average) that is faster than toddlers who are waiting for the program. Parents learn techniques that they can continue to use with their toddlers after the program ends.

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.

Presenter
Moira Pena, occupational therapist

Eligibility Criteria

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

Cost: $100

Date and time
Oct. 25, 2019 - Parent(s) of children ages 1-6 
Nov. 22, 2019 - 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.”

*Body, emotional, sensory and thinking strategies


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.

Presenter
Moira Pena, occupational therapist
 
Eligibility Criteria 

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

Cost: $100

Date and time 
Nov. 8, 2019 - Parent(s) of children between the ages of 1 and 6 
Nov. 29, 2019 - 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.”

*Body, emotional, sensory and thinking strategies


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.

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

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

Cost: $50

Date and time
Oct. 23, 2019
6:30 - 8 p.m. 


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

Eligibility Criteria

  • Parents of verbal children between the ages of 3 and10 
  • 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
     

Cost: $300

Date and time
Oct.15, 2019
6-8 p.m. 

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


Peer Interaction Program (PIP)

For children with autism, playing and chatting with friends is often more difficult than communicating with adults. But, playing with similar-aged children is how kids learn play skills, social skills and how to communicate beyond the typical routines of the home. To help children develop these skills, adults must become involved and facilitate their children’s communication and play skills. 
The Peer Interaction Program (PIP) matches each child with a compatible playmate and offers them four guided peer interaction sessions. Parents will attend a two hour didactic workshop to learn strategies to facilitate peer play activities and they will be live coached by the speech-language pathologist during their children’s peer interaction sessions. This program consists of 8.5 hours of direct intervention time.  

Presenter
Ian Roth, speech-language pathologist

Eligibility Criteria

  • Children between the ages of 3 and 8 who experience social communication impairments
  • A parent/caregiver who can attend the evening group didactic workshop and four daytime peer interaction sessions

Cost: $600

Date and time
Oct. 22, 2019
6-8 p.m. 

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

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. 

Presenters
Megan Lynch, occupational therapist
Simmy Kassam, occupational therapist

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)
     

Cost: $300

Date and time
Wednesday, Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov.13
4 - 5:30 p.m.


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.

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

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
     

Cost: $350

Date and time
Tuesdays, Oct. 22 - Dec. 10 (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


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
     

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

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


Cost: $3,000

Date and time
Thursdays, Nov. 7, 2019 - Feb. 20, 2020
6 - 7:30 p.m.

Please note that the PEERS program will not run on Thursdays, Nov.  21, 2019 Dec. 26, 2019 and Jan. 2, 2020


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.

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

Eligibility Criteria

  • Children/youth in grades 1 to 8 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.
     

Cost: $150 (Children in Grades 1-3) - $175 (Children in Grades 4-8)

Date and time

Part 1: Children in Grades 1-3
Thursdays, Oct. 17, 20119 - Dec. 5, 2019 (8 weeks)
4:30 - 6 p.m.

Part 2: Children in Grades 1-3
Thursdays, Jan. 9, 2020 - Feb. 27, 2020 (8 weeks)
4:30 - 6 p.m.

Part 1: Children in Grades 4-8
Saturdays, Oct. 19, 2019 - Dec. 7, 2019 (8 weeks)
4:30 - 6 p.m.

Part 2: Children in Grades 4-8
Saturdays, Jan. 11, 2020 - Feb. 29, 2020 (8 weeks)
4:30 - 6 p.m.

Please note that for the fall 2019/winter 2020 sessions, the GITG groups are being generously funded by the National Bank and the Milos Raonic Foundation.

School-Aged Behavioural Therapy Interventions (BCBA-Led)

All About Behaviour - Parenting/Caregiver Consultation

This consultation-based model helps parents gain knowledge and skills around addressing their children’s challenging behaviour using an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) framework. This consultation includes an initial phone call with the BCBA who will conduct an interview to gather a history of the challenging behaviours and together identify a meaningful goal to target for behavioural change. Following the initial call, parents will participate in a two hour group didactic session which will provide an overview of ABA strategies as they relate to the challenging behaviour. After the didactic group session, individualized one hour in person consults (parent only) will take place to problem solve and adjust strategies as needed, approximately one to two weeks following the group didactic. Modelling of strategies and rehearsal will be included. The BCBA will also be available for two 30 minute phone calls to check in on implementation of new strategies and problem solve with parents/caregivers.

Presenter
Erica Laframboise, board certified behaviour analyst

Eligibility Criteria

  • Parents of children/youth between the ages 3 and18 years old
  • Behaviours that are appropriate for consultation include: minor tantrum behaviour, challenges around daily living/routines such as mealtimes, homework refusal, self-help and communication skills
  • Behaviours that are not appropriate for consultation include: self-injurious behaviour, severe aggression, property destruction and other severe problem behaviours.

Cost: $300

Date and time
Nov. 1, 2019
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Individual sessions will be booked at a mutually convenient time following the group didactic session.


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

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