What is Ontario Autism Program | A Complete Guide
The abbreviation OAP stands for Ontario Autism Program. The Ontario Autism Program (OAP) is a campaign administered by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services that provides funding and supports to families with children and youth who have been diagnosed by a qualified professional with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These families qualify for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP), and their children can receive services and supports until they reach the age of 18. Ontario is implementing a comprehensive, needs-based, and family-centered autism initiative. Throughout this transition, they will continue to provide services and supports to improve outcomes for children and adolescents on the autism spectrum, promote quality care from autism providers, and assist as many families as possible.
Register your child:
To enroll, you must complete and submit the Ontario Autism Program registration form, as well as provide all required supporting documentation.
- If your family has more than one autistic child, you will need to fill out separate registration forms for each one.
- If you have already registered your child for the Ontario Autism Program and submitted your registration form and all supporting documents, you do not need to register again.
- When the ministry receives your registration form and all supporting documents, your child’s registration date is calculated.
To register for the Ontario Autism Program, your child must:
- Be under age of 18
- Currently live in Ontario
- Have a written diagnosis of Autism from a qualified professional
Your child’s written diagnosis must include:
- Your child’s full name and date of birth
- The date of your child’s assessment
- A statement indicating that the child meets the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder
- The qualified professional’s name and credentials
WE ARE MONITORING THE PROGRAM AS IT CONTINUES TO CHANGE. CURRENTLY, CHILDREN ARE ELIGIBLE FOR:
- Waitlist to receive funding
- OAP – Behavior Plan (legacy)
- OAP – Childhood budget (5K/20K, depending on your child’s age)
- OAP – Interim one-time funding (5K/20K, depending on your child’s age)
OAP – (LEGACY) Behavior Plan (Discontinued:
It is a method of direct financial support. Based on a budget provided by the child’s BCBA, funds are released to parents directly from the funding provider. The budget includes the treatment hours recommended for each clinical support service (i.e., one to one, family training, consultation with professionals, team meetings, planning, and goal setting). This money is used by parents to pay for behavioral services as stated in the budget. The OAP behavior plan is being phased out in favor of a NEEDS-BASED Ontario Autism Program. Families who currently have an OAP behavior plan will have their services extended with no differences until they transition to the new Needs-Based Autism Plan. Families that do not already have an OAP behavior plan may be eligible for support through the childhood budget or the interim one-time payment.
OAP – needs-based (NEW):
The project involves an age factor; thus, it is both needs and age-based.
- Children 0 to 9 are eligible to receive up to $65,000 (based on their need)
- Children 10 to 14 are eligible to receive up to $41,000 (based on their need)
- Children 15 to 18 are eligible to receive up to $31,900 (based on their need)
In this program, families have access to a care coordinator who will assess your child’s needs based on his or her goals, strengths, and support requirements across key domains. Families will get funds to acquire core clinical treatments from providers of their choice — the criteria for need-based funding tiers have not been revealed.
Read Also: How ABA Therapy Could Help With Language Development?
OAP – Childhood Budget:
It is a direct funding option. In this option, funds are released to parents directly from the treatment provider based on the child’s age as of April 1, 2019.
- $20,000 for a child aged 1-5
- $5,000 for a child aged 6-17
With the help of this money, parents can purchase eligible services and supports, such as:
Behavioral services: treatment, assessments, and consultations.
- Speech-language pathology (SLP), Occupational Therapy (OT), Physiotherapy (PT)
- Family and caregiver training
- Respite services
- Travel and technology aids
If you want to be eligible for this program, you should not currently receive services and support through the OAP behavior plan. You may be eligible to also receive the interim one-time funding (info below) once your current agreement expires If you have received a childhood budget. Following options will be available until your child transitions into the new needs-based OAP program:
- A 6-month delay (18 months rather than 12 months) to spend and reconcile the money due to COVID19
- Transition to One-Time Interim Funding once the funds from your Childhood Budget have been used.
OAP – Interim One Time Funding:
Due to COVID-19, all-new, eligible Ontario Autism Program applicants who submitted complete registration forms and supporting documents by March 31, 2021, will receive interim one-time funding. Families can purchase eligible services and supports with interim one-time funding. Accepting this funding will not affect your eligibility for the Ontario Autism Program, which is based on needs. The waitlist position for your child or youth on the Ontario Autism Program will be maintained. You have 18 months to use your one-time interim funding and submit your expense form. In this way, we have given you six months to spend your interim one-time funding and submit your expense form.
Renewing your interim one-time funding:
If you have already obtained interim one-time financial support, you may be able to qualify for an additional payment of $20,000 or $5,000 depending on your child’s or youth’s age on April 1, 2021. In one simple step, submit your expenses for your initial payment and apply for an additional payment using our online form. You can also download an editable PDF version of the form. Families can start buying eligible services and supports the day after their interim one-time funding agreement expires, provided they have submitted their expenses and application form for the additional payment.
You must enter into a funding agreement with the ministry for receiving Ontario Autism Program interim one-time funding. You should read and consent to the terms and conditions of the funding agreement on your application form, and you can read them here for your records.
Caregiver-mediated early years programs:
All children between the ages of 12 and 48 months (4 years) who are registered in the Ontario Autism Program are eligible for free caregiver-mediated early childhood programs. Early childhood programs facilitated by caregivers assist young children in developing new skills and achieving personal objectives. All of the programs are based on play, are led by children, and are age-appropriate. They are free and last up to six months per child. Professionals teach parents and caregivers therapeutic strategies and specific techniques based on their child’s unique needs through these programs. They are designed to help parents and caregivers support their children’s development in the following areas:
- Social interaction
- Emotional development
- Adaptive development and self-help skills
The programs are play-based, child-led, and developmentally appropriate. Programs are free of charge and available for up to six months per child.
Core clinical services:
Children and youth registered in the Ontario Autism Program began receiving invitations to participate in the launch of core clinical services in March 2021. These services may include Applied Behavior Analysis, Speech-language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, and Mental Health Support, depending on your child’s specific needs. After you accept your invitation, a care coordinator will walk you through the following steps in the needs assessment process:
- Meeting with your family to see your child’s goals, strengths, and support needs.
- Selection of funding to purchase core clinical services
- Helping your family with the next steps to get the core clinical services of your choice.
This is distinct from the clinical assessment that a clinician would conduct as the first step in treatment planning for core clinical services. To develop treatment options and a plan for your child, you should work directly with your chosen clinician(s).
What to expect:
A caregiver will ask you questions regarding your child’s goals, strengths, and support needs across nine domains, using a standardized tool to do so.
- Communication – how children communicate and understand others to successfully participate in activities of daily life.
- Social interaction – how children take part in social situations, shared activities, and interactions with others (groups, peers, new settings).
- Play and leisure – how individuals engage in play independently and with others.
- Activities of daily living – how individuals complete daily tasks, such as getting dress and eating.
- Motor skills – how individuals participate in activities that involve using fine motor skills and gross motor skills, such as writing and walking respectively.
- Cognitive skills – how individuals follow instructions, concentrate, and solve problems.