Government Announces Launch of New Foundational Programs for Ontario Autism Program

The Ministry of Children and Community and Social Services announced the launching of the first phase of the Foundation Supports component of the new Ontario Autism Program(OAP) to commence August 7th.  Foundational family services such as family and peer mentoring, caregiver workshops and coaching will be tailored to the unique regional and cultural needs in different communities. These services will build on existing virtual and remote options introduced during the COVID-19 outbreak.

View Ministry announcement.

The first phase of foundational family services is part of the ongoing implementation of the new needs-based, sustainable and family-centred OAP.   The new OAP was recommended by the OAP Advisory Panel in its report released last fall - see Recommendations for a New  Needs-Based Ontario Autism Program, The Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel Report.

Implications for Occupational Therapists
Implementation of Foundational Supports is not part of the work assigned to the Implementation Working Group so little is known about the guidance for content of these programs.  There may be good opportunities for occupational therapists to contribute to the family coaching/education nature of these programs which are intended to support families from the beginning of their journey with autism and to assist in system navigation.

OSOT has a virtual workshop planned for the upcoming Conference 2020 to explore opportunities and needs for OT services in the new OAP.