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Foundational Family Services

The Ontario Autism Program has taken a needs-based approach that includes a broad range of services designed to offer more supports to meet the individual needs of families, children and youth. As such, Dufferin Child and Family Services is offering Foundational Family Services to all families registered with the Ontario Autism Program.

We are pleased to announce that you can now book an appointment to access our Foundational Family Services support online.

Foundational Family Service will provide you with the tools you need to participate in, and support your child or youth in their ongoing learning and development.

The first phase of Foundational Family Services builds on the virtual workshop entitled, The Caregiver’s Journey. Additional interactive caregiver workshops are offered below that include information, education and resources on a variety of topics.

Please register for the workshops that interest you:

Behaviour Basics: There are two sessions Part 1 and Part 2. You will need to register for each session. Please choose a date and time that works for you.


Behaviour Basics Part 1

There is a reason behind most challenging behaviour, such as communication or meeting an unmet need, and it is helpful to identify and understand the root causes in order to provide the most appropriate supports. An overview of behaviours, answering questions such as, “why is my child engaging in challenging behavior?”, and “how can I best support my child when they are engaging in this behavior?” We will discuss tools to use to identify possible functions of the behaviour as well as proactive support strategies. We will allow time at the end for questions and discussion.

Behaviour Basics (Reinforcement) Part 2

Reinforcement is the most important and widely used strategy to shape how we all behave on a daily basis. It is something that happens naturally all the time in your everyday life and it can be used when teaching new skills. You will learn how to personalize reinforcers, to match the reinforcer to the behaviour, and how to pair tangible reinforcers with praise. You will leave this workshop with a variety of tips and strategies to feel confident in utilizing this principle. We will allow time at the end for questions and discussion.

How to Implement Token Systems at Home

Token systems is one of the most commonly used behavior management interventions, especially for children who have behavioral challenges. Join us to learn how you can use a token system at home.

  • To Be Announced Soon

Toilet Learning/Training

From sitting on the toilet to the independent use of a public washroom, the strategies presented will help you break down the complex task of teaching your child independent toileting skills. We will share readiness checklists, walk you through procedures, following schedules, and ending with generalization and maintenance. We will allow time at the end for questions and discussion.

How to Help your Child go to Sleep and Stay Asleep

Sleep disturbances and night waking can be a stressful challenging behavior for your child and the family. We will share information on common sleep challenges and provide practical sleep strategies to help you and your child sleep better. We will address sleep problems and disturbances for individuals with special needs who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. We will allow time at the end for questions and discussion.

Introducing New Foods/Picky Eaters

Introducing new foods into your child’s diet can be a challenge. In this workshop we review common feeding issues and factors that influence them. We will discuss ways to increase your child’s willingness to try new foods, with specific recommendations for how to intervene on food selectivity in children with autism. This session will provide general strategies for how to ensure long-term success. There will be time at the end for questions and discussion.

Independent Living Skills Series

These are skills that are essential skills that are needed, including those at home, school, and in the community, to live as independently as possible. Examples are washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or getting dressed. We will discuss the importance of systematically identifying and addressing independent life skills. For caregivers of learners at all stages of development. We will allow time at the end for questions and discussion.

The Caregiver’s Journey

You know that caring for your mental health is vital. But as a parent, you’re limited on time and energy. Do you want to know what is going on behind your child’s behaviour? Do you ever wonder about the best way to respond? Do you know who to reach out to for help, and what supports are available? It is important to know that there is support out there for families that are dealing with difficult behaviours. We will discuss practical self care strategies you can do at home for your own mental health, as well as strategies to help your child.

  • To Be Announced Soon

The Nuts and Bolts of Using Visual Supports

For caregivers of both verbal and non-verbal children looking to provide additional visual support systems in order to support the child’s communication at home, at school and in the community. This workshop is designed to help parents and caregivers understand how to develop visual supports and use it to develop and increase independence.

  • To Be Announced Soon

Homework Helper Tips

This workshop will include tips on how to fit homework successfully into your busy schedule. We will share resources to help your child make a plan, break homework into manageable tasks, time management tools and creating/following a schedule.

Next Steps: We Have a Diagnosis, Now What?

You have the diagnosis, now what do you do??  What questions do you need to ask and where do you go for answers? Understanding more about Autism can help you better understand your child with Autism. The workshop will focus on a range of symptoms you may observe as well as treatment options, including Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).You will also get answers to your questions about funding resources.

  • To Be Announced Soon

If you have questions about our Foundational Family Services, please contact our Central Intake Team at 519-941-1530.

Web Resources

The external resource links are provided for informational purposes only. DCAFS is not responsible for the content, privacy policies and terms of use of websites to which we link. The websites listed are not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment, provided by a qualified health-care provider.



Daily Living Skills



Social Skills


Other Teaching Resources

Visual supports

What is ABA?

YouTube Resources

Personal Selfcare

Tying shoelaces:

Daily Living Skills


Visits to the Dentists, Doctors and the Hospital




Doing Chores

Doing laundry

Loading the dishwasher/unloading the dishwasher

Washing dishes in the sink

Picking up toys

Talk in Clinic Foster & Adopt Glow 2SLGBTQ+ Youth Group