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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.

To access online booking appointments, please click the GREEN button located on our home page.

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.
Foundational Family Services is:

  • informed by evidence,
  • delivered by a range of professionals,
  • responsive to your family’s changing needs over time and your child’s strengths and developmental stages,
  • offered in a variety of ways: virtually, in-person, group-based sessions and self-directed,
  • customized to the unique regional, language and cultural needs in different communities.

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: This presentation offers a brief 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?” The discussion will focus on tools to determine possible functions of the behaviour, as well as opportunities to learn about proactive support strategies. We will allow time at the end for questions and discussion.

Behaviour Basics (Reinforcement) Part 2: is the most important and widely applied principle of behaviour analysis as it shapes how our behaviour on a daily basis. Reinforcement is something that occurs naturally in everyday life and can be used when teaching new skills. You will learn how to personalize reinforcers to match behaviours, and how to pair reinforcers with praise. This workshop will help you gain the confidence you need to apply reinforcement principles using a variety of tips and strategies. A question/answer discussion will follow the presentation.

Toilet Training: The strategies presented in this workshop will help you break down the complex task of teaching your child independent toileting skills from sitting on the toilet to their independent use of public washrooms. We will discuss and walk through procedures such as readiness checklists, following schedules, other generalizations, and maintenance. A question/answer discussion will follow the presentation.

How to Help your Child go to Sleep and Stay Asleep:  Sleep disturbances and night waking can be some of the most stressful challenging behaviors for parents to work through. This workshop shares information on common sleep challenges in children and provides practical sleep strategies to help you and your child sleep better. This workshop will address sleep problems and disturbances for individuals with special needs who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. A question/answer discussion will follow the presentation.

Picky Eaters: We will review effective treatments for feeding disorders in general, 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 and maintenance of treatment effects. A question/answer discussion will follow the presentation.

Teaching Independent Life Skills: Functional life skills are essential for everyday living as we use them at home, at school, and in the community. This workshop will discuss the importance of systematically identifying and addressing life skills such as getting dressed, general hygiene: handwashing, and oral care/teeth brushing. This workshop is appropriate for caregivers of learners at all stages of development. A question/answer discussion will follow the presentation.

The Caregiver’s Journey:  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 support is available? WE CAN HELP!

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.

Next Steps: We have the diagnosis, now what do we do? 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).

Ready, Set, Go to School: Transitioning from Kindergarten to grade 1 or onto a higher grade can be intimidating to children and their parents. Join us as we review some important school readiness skills as well as strategies to prepare your child for the transition.

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