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Ontario Launching Pilot Program to Support Students with Autism in Schools

Program Aims to Improve Learning Experience of Students with Autism

October 25, 2017

Ontario is improving school-based supports for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by launching a new pilot project for the 2017-18 school year.

The pilot program will:  

  • Provide dedicated spaces for external practitioners of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to deliver on-site autism services.
  • Provide education assistants with access to voluntary 40-hour online targeted training and professional learning sessions.
  • Provide funding to hire an ABA expertise professional with Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) certification/qualification or equivalent qualification.

The pilot is available in 18 school boards and aims to improve the experience of students with ASD by reducing the number of transitions for students during the school day between home, school and community-based supports and services. Through training and professional expertise, the pilot will also work to improve the capacity of school teams to provide skilled support to students with ASD.

The pilots will be reviewed by an external researcher to monitor and evaluate the success of the project, including the evaluation of the inclusive practices developed by the participating schools. The researcher’s findings, along with recommendations from a Provincial Advisory Team, will inform the future direction of in school supports for students with ASD.

Enabling more students to achieve success in school and beyond is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

QUOTES

“Ontario is taking action to ensure that all students have access to the supports they need to succeed in school, and in their lives. This pilot project is a critical first step toward greater integration of ASD supports across the province."

— Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education

“We have heard from families that services for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) must be consistent from home, to school to the community. We are committed to moving ahead with regulation of ABA providers, and to working closely with our partners across government to deliver better quality, more integrated services for young people with ASD and their families.”

— Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services

"The OAC has been advocating since 2005 for the rights of students to access meaningful ABA in the classroom to help them learn. While this announcement is a long-awaited first step, it is a step in the right direction.  The OAC looks forward to seeing a continued commitment by the Ministry of Education to ensure that all students with ASD have access to appropriate ABA services and ABA trained staff at school, to give students with autism the support and education they are entitled to."

 — Bruce McIntosh, Ontario Autism Coalition

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario is committing approximately $5 million to the one-year pilot project.
  • Schools from English and French public and English and French Catholic schools systems are represented in the pilot and are located across the province.
  • More than 20,000 students identified with ASD are currently being supported in Ontario’s publicly funded school system.

LEARN MORE

Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Schools – information about the pilot

Special Education – information for parents

Ontario Transforming Autism Services for Children and Their Families

Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario

2017-18 Grants for Student Needs

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