In early 2019, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services made several announcements related to the Ontario Autism Program. Please see below for more information.
1. Where can I find information about the Ontario Autism Program?
- Please call the dedicated Autism Service Ontario toll-free number at 1-888-284-8340
Visit the following sites:
- Ontario government news release (Feb 6)
- Ontario government news release (March 21)
- Ontario government news release (April 2)
- Ontario Autism Program website
2. Were you consulted on the OAP? What does Holland Bloorview think of the changes?
Holland Bloorview was not consulted on changes to the OAP.
Over the past several weeks, Holland Bloorview clinical staff and leadership have met with and listened to several parents of children with ASD as they shared their feedback and concerns about recent changes to the OAP.
We recognize and appreciate that these changes are likely to have an adverse impact on certain families. For this reason, we remain committed to partnering with all stakeholders, including government and families, to continue to advocate for and deliver high-quality service.
Recent changes to remove income-testing, expand eligible services and provide transition funding are welcome as we know more can be done to enhance timely access to diagnosis and treatment. New provincial funding for the five autism diagnostic hubs (including Holland Bloorview) will provide families access to increased diagnostic services sooner.
On April 2, 2019, the government announced public consultations and an advisory panel to further inform enhancements to the OAP. These are important changes that will provide families a chance to express their hopes and concerns about the OAP. Holland Bloorview will make information about consultations available to families once published.
Overall, we advocate for a consultative and evidence-informed approach to decision-making. To this end, Holland Bloorview’s Autism Research Centre scientists recently published an opinion piece on the evolution of autism therapy and emerging directions.
3. What role does Holland Bloorview play in autism?
Holland Bloorview is a non-partisan, publically funded hospital that plays an important system role as a diagnostic services provider and in capacity building. We also offer a host of complementary programs to support children with diverse abilities:
- Centralized Equipment Pool
- Music and arts
- Life Skills coaching and group programs
- Nursery schools
- Holland Bloorview FIRST Robotics
- Education talks and workshops
Holland Bloorview’s ASD program includes a capacity building focus and the world-class Autism Research Centrethat conducts research aimed at improving outcomes and quality of life for children with ASD and their families. Our research encompasses many areas including genetics and biology, innovative technologies, developmental and behavioural interventions, and new care models.
Holland Bloorview also offers the Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Ontario Autism program. The ECHO Ontario Autism program links Holland Bloorview’s team of experts with primary care clinicians in local communities in Ontario to build capacity and their ability to screen, diagnose, and support children and youth with ASD.
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.