ErinoakKids introduces new innovative services for autism clients
Autism services in Ontario have been undergoing a number of changes recently to improve the support and services available for children and youth with autism and their families. With the support of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS), ErinoakKids is leading the way with their demonstration of an evidence-based early intervention model for children showing early signs of Autism and/or developmental delay. In addition, ErinoakKids is launching a new interprofessional diagnostic clinic for children and youth suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What is the Early Intervention Demonstration?
MCYS is funding four different early intervention models across the province during a three year demonstration for young children with developmental concerns and/or showing early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ErinoakKids is partnering with the Infant and Child Development Services in Halton, Peel and Dufferin as well as working closely with the early intervention model’s clinical expert, Dr. Amy Wetherby of Florida State University’s School of Medicine. The model is called Early Social Interaction/Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports (ESI/SCERTS).
Early intervention demonstrations are in place to serve children from 12 months through 30 months of age that are showing early signs of autism so they can receive supports sooner. This early intervention can alleviate severity of autism symptoms and can improve overall development.
Unlike other Autism services, the Early Intervention Demonstration does not require a diagnosis. It also focuses on parents’ capacity to help their children in a familiar environment (i.e. home) versus reliance on clinical experts in artificial clinic settings. This model involves embedded strategies that allow parents to be the primary agent of change.
ErinoakKids’ New Diagnostic Hub
Children’s Treatment Network (CTN) has partnered with ErinoakKids as one of five autism diagnostic hubs across Ontario. These hubs are introducing an inter-professional approach to diagnosis that focuses on enhancing family experiences and improving access to timely diagnostic services in our community.
This new model allows a team of a diagnostician (psychologist or developmental pediatrician) and a clinician (speech language pathologist or psychometrist) to work together to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of Autism.
Orientation sessions for families scheduled to attend a diagnostic clinic will be available on a monthly basis with support from a social worker. Sessions will focus on preparing families for what to expect during the diagnostic process as well as answering any questions that they may have in anticipation of their child’s clinic appointment.