Mission Statement: This blog was created to provide information on getting help for autism in general while focussing on locally available resources for families with newly diagnosed children in Belleville and Quinte area.

Please browse the blog at your leisure. You are welcome to comment on the posts. If you are a parent, an autism consultant, counselor, teacher with information on autism resources available in our area, please email your information to benziesangma@gmail.com. Your information will be added within 24 hours.

Local Autism Support Groups

Parents Engaging Autism Quinte (PEAQ), an autism parent support group, meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. In December, instead of a meeting, we are interested in organizing a group to go to the Christmas event at the Safety Village, behind the Belleville Police building on Dundas E, Belleville. The date is Friday, December 8 at 6 p.m. Please email parentsengagingautismquinte@gmail.com if interested in joining us. If you have questions or suggestions for autism topics that are important to you so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings.

Autism parent support group meeting hosted by Mental Health Agency, Trenton and Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) meeting is on the Third Thursday of the month. If you have any questions or require any further information please contact Orlana Bourgoin at orlana.b@trentonmfrc.ca or 613 392 2811 x 3953

For info on Community Living Prince Edward County Parent Support group, contact Resource Consultants @ 613 476 6038

Central Hastings Autism Support Group meets in Madoc at the Recreation Centre. Contact Renee O’Hara, Family Resource & Support, 613-966-7413 or Tammy Kavanagh, Family Resource & Support, 613-332-3227

Friday, June 9, 2017

Summary of A Local Parent's Direct Funding Story

The new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) is being introduced this month. In that new program, children who have been on the waitlist for Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) will be given a chance to be off the waitlist by receiving a sum of direct funding for their families to seek private service providers. This is good news! But what happens next, is the question that might be on parents minds. Where do we find those professionals? Are they in our communities? Probably not. If they are in our communities, they might also be fully booked and your child could be placed on another waitlist to access the services of that service provider. According to the parent at our autism parent support group PEAQ meeting in Belleville, under the old autism intervention program some years ago, her child's name was placed on both the direct service and direct funding option list. She had the choice of taking the option that came up up first. She wanted to get help for her son as quickly as possible and so she took the direct funding option. She began her search for available individual autism service providers in Quinte area and began series of interviews with individuals she found through word of mouth. She said that she was so frustrated, stressed and second-guessing herself that she wanted to give it all up soon after and put her son back on the direct service waitlist. Under direct service, the government agency responsible for the autism intervention program, has the responsiblity for planning your child's support all the way. Parent's responsibility is to simply bring their child to the agency at a scheduled time each day for the child to receive full planned program. It might be 20 hours a week or less but that is it. Parents might be given information on goals to work with their child at home but it ended there. This parent, no surprise there having known her strength and resourcefulness as far as professional intervention system for her child with autism is concerned, she pulled up her socks and decided to go through with direct funding option. After many interviews with potential candidates, again through wood of mouth she found an agency in Kingston whose representative finally gave her the full package that she needed for her child's support team. The agency had a clinical psychologist, senior therapist and an instructor therapist. Each professional had to be paid on time so she also became a clever accountant supervising payment and receipt details. She became a co-ordinator who scheduled time with each professional. She went over assessments and sat down to set new goals with the team to make sure that her child's support is on track each week. Now, many parents might have the same motivation and drive to make direct funding option work but for many, it might come as a big challenge and a huge barrier because we don't have a list of qualified private autism service providers in areas like ours to take on the demand load that's going to hit our community soon. On the upside, please know that under the new program the regional service provider you are connected to is obliged by the government to give you the direct funding option and support to find your private autism intervention team. This was not so under the old autism intervention program in Ontario. Just expect to go through some hard detailed work to gather information, focused planning and organization but know that parents of children with autism and special needs, we are a motivated and driven lot because our children need us to be.

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In it for the long haul...

I created this blog with my sincere wish that those of you reading this will want to share your own stories, both good and bad, what worked for you and what didn't and together, we can make it easier for the next family beginning their own journey of discovery. By posting what you know, where you have recieved certain services, who you have talked to, whose expertise you trust, how you navigated the school education services and by responding to questions in the discussion thread, know that you have helped a family in need. So, parents, experts in the field, counsellors, teachers and everyone who has any information on resources available, please feel free to post on this blog.