In a follow-up to the recent announcement made by Minister Lisa MacLeaod regarding the changes to the Autism Ontario Program, Children’s Support by LifeWorks would like to assure families that we are committed to serving high quality, evidence-based behaviour analytic services to our clients.
At CSS, we stand with our families and providers through times of change. We recognize the necessity for a needs-based Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) funding model in Ontario, not a model that distributes funding based on age and income. ABA is an evidence-based science and is recommended for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), at a clinically appropriate intensity.
As we brace for the impact of these new changes in April 2019, we will strive to continue to provide high-quality behaviour analytic services to the children we serve. We will remain united with our families and continue to support those families through the changes. We will continue to provide updates in the coming weeks as we learn more about the OAP.
What is the new Ontario Autism Program?
Information regarding the new OAP can be found on the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services Website found here.
Introduction of Diagnostic Hubs:
- Across five regions, there will be diagnostic assessment hubs to efficiently and reliably target the current waitlist for assessments in Ontario. Within these hubs, families can self-refer their child to receive a diagnostic assessment if they show signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
How the Hubs work:
- The hubs are improving the availability of more timely diagnostic assessments. This is so children can start accessing services as quickly as possible by:
- Providing multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessments
- Connecting families with the appropriate services in their communities following a diagnostic assessment
- Increasing the number of professionals able to conduct ASD diagnostic assessments by offering training and capacity-building in their local communities
In order to access funding, a Childhood Budget will be created. The funding from these budgets include funding for:
- Behavioural services
- Family/caregiver training
- Respite Services
- Technology aids
The new funding model will be based on the child’s age and family income (please see the Sliding Scale for Income).
- Children aged 0-6 can be eligible to receive up to $140,000 between the ages of 0-18 years old.
- These children will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 each year until they turn 6.
- Children aged 6/7 and over can be eligible to receive up to $55,000 until age 18.
- These children will be eligible to receive up to $5000 per year.
What does this mean for our clients?
Families with OAP budget plans ending BEFORE March 31, 2018:
- If your child’s behaviour plan ends before March 31, 2019, you will be able to renew it for a maximum of three months. The service hours your child receives per week in their renewed plan must be equal to or less than the hours they received per week in their previous plan. All renewed plans must be signed and submitted to a Single Point of Access by March 31st
Families with OAP budget plans ending AFTER March 31, 2018:
- As you get close to the end of your budget plan, you will be contacted by a program representative and will be supported to apply for a Childhood Budget.
Families transitioning into the OAP:
- If your family is currently working with a service provider to develop a new behaviour plan, but it has yet to be signed, your family will still be able to submit a budget plan and enter into the OAP. The plan will be for a maximum of three months and must be signed and submitted to a Single Point of Access (regional provider) by March 31st
If you have any questions regarding the new OAP or how it impacts yourself or your family, please connect with your child’s Senior Therapist or our Children and Family Advisor Team at 1-866-653-2397.
By Jamie Greenspan, Behaviour Therapist.