Kerry’s Place Autism Services continued to deliver innovative and evidence-based services and supports over the past fiscal year. Accelerated by the impact of the pandemic, our focus transitioned towards alternative models of care, providing after-school programs, camps, consultations, and training courses virtually. This shift enabled Kerry’s Place to support thousands of families virtually despite the challenges associated with in-person care.
Ontario Autism Program:
As the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services continues to change and enhance and the Ontario Autism Program (OAP), Kerry’s Place has made a commitment to offer the necessary services and supports required during this transition. On August 7, 2020, the province announced the launch of the first phase of foundational family services, highlighting the importance of having ongoing capacity-building supports available to families. As a result, Kerry’s Place introduced its Foundational Family Services stream that includes the following types of options:
- Family and Peer Mentoring: Caregiver/Sibling Support Groups
- Workshops and Coaching Sessions for Caregivers and Children
- Transitional Supports: Exploring pathways beyond teen years
- Family Resource and Clinic Days
- Brief, targeted consultation
Services are offered at no cost to families registered with the OAP, in a variety of formats with individual and group supports and virtual and in-person sessions.
Kerry’s Place has continuously added to its service offerings to appeal to transitional-aged youth, better understanding one’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and supporting school participation while transitioning from in-home, to in-class learning. Our Evidence-Based Behavioral Services (EBBS) are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, and are focused on developing skills in the areas of self-regulation, social development, daily living skills, communication, and behaviour change. These services include:
- Social Skills Development Groups
- Self-Regulation Strategies
- Employment-related Skills
- Managing Finances
- Behaviour Intervention/Assessment
- School Support/Readiness
- Skills-Based Groups, such as Kitchen Safety and Online Safety
- Parent/Caregiver training
The interventions used are delivered to persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families through group based learning, individual supports (one-on-one), consultative services, trainings and workshops. Individualized supports are overseen by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA), and our services are mediator model focused, with the understanding that caregivers are the primary agents of change.
The overall response has been positive with both our Foundational Family Services stream and Evidence-Based Behavioural Services, with both in high demand.
It has been working well and very helpful. The strategies and techniques learned from the program helped us control her crying behaviour and she has learned to use her words whenever she needs help and gets frustrated. It is a life changing for us! (parent)
Additional Children’s Services
Kerry’s Place continued to find proactive ways to support individuals and families accessing programs and services during the pandemic. Through a variety of innovative after-school, recreational and respite supports, participants continued connecting with friends and familiar staff members virtually. Services were creatively designed to achieve the same outcomes of in-person services, integrating social opportunities, arts and crafts, music and movement activities. For select camps, participants received crafts and other materials in advance as part of a “camp-in-a-bag” strategy to supplement virtual learning. All recreation and respite services transitioned to virtual settings at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Just wanted to pass on my thumbs up for today’s camp. The staff was great in getting the kids to stay on task. T was able to engage and follow through the activities the whole day. I’m really happy to see that he’s becoming more independent and not escaping from the screen. 🙂 The 1/2 hour break segments helped when I gave him some “his” time doing legos and watching basketball. I’m so thankful we got in!
Centralized Intake Services
With a dedicated phone number (1-833-77-KERRY) and email address (email@example.com), Kerry’s Place has a fully coordinated intake and assessment process. This past year the Community Services Intake Team expanded to encompass all regions that Kerry’s Place serves, and has facilitated seamless entry for families into relevant programs and services regardless of where they are located. In support of continuous quality improvement, Intake is looking forward to conducting a review of its process to identify efficiencies and areas for further growth and development.
Learning and Development
Kerry’s Place is a community leader in the development and delivery of an extensive range of workshops, courses and interactive seminars. The Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate Course, which was developed as a Kerry’s Place employee training standard, has been delivered to well over 400 community participants since its launch in early 2018.
Delivered quarterly, this course has been attended by a number of diverse community stakeholders, including parents and caregivers, teachers, medical staff and community employees.
Parent and Caregiver Consultation
Consultation services offer individualized support to families in order to develop, implement and evaluate effective program strategies that best meet the needs of their loved ones. Our skilled and experienced Autism Consultants share their knowledge and experience with each family to supplement the knowledge they already possess to enable those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder participate fully in their communities.
Holiday Camp Connection Brings In 2021!
On the last day of our Holiday Camp Connection, both staff and participants said goodbye to 2020 with a virtual party. Click here to read more…
Over the past twelve months, a number of requests have been received to provide training sessions to additional community partners that include social service organizations, municipal services (libraries, emergency medical services, etc.), and educational personnel. We look forward to continuing to deliver, improve, and create novel training opportunities in the coming year. Below is a list of the learning and development offerings and achievements this past year:
- Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder Workshop – 88 participants
- Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (Community Partners) – 367 participants
- Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate Course – 149 participants
- Nonviolent Crisis Intervention for Caregivers – 369 participants
- Brief Consultation – 993 consultations provided
- Sibling Groups – 54 siblings participated
- Caregiver e-Connect Sessions – 108 participants