November 2011 Partnership Communiqué

The York ASD Partnership hosted our Official Public Launch and Autism Awareness Day on October 4, 2011.  The event, held at Glenway Golf and Country Club in Newmarket, was attended by 140 people.

Participants enjoyed a continental breakfast while visiting York ASD Partnership agency exhibit booths and an art display by artists with an ASD.

The Official Launch began with the singing of our national anthem by opera singer, Suzanne Kilgore who is diagnosed with Aspergers.  Suzanne entertained the audience with another performance during lunch.  A video montage oriented the group to the history, goals and plans of the York ASD Partnership.

Each organization was recognized as founding members of the York ASD Partnership and presented with plaque containing a piece of art work by an artist with ASD.  This orientation video may be viewed at

Guest speakers, who reinforced the importance and value of our collaborative work, included Susan LaRosa, Director of Education at the York Catholic District School Board, Ken Thurston, Director of Education at the York Region District School Board, Kim Baker, CEO of the Central Local Integrated Health Network, Dan Beale, Manager of Early Intervention Services with the Region of York and Inspector Maria Arrons with the York Region Police.

The audience was moved to tears by the personal stories, challenges and successes presented by three people with an ASD.  Daniel Share-Strom, Braxton Hartman and Carol Ann MacDonald are inspirations to us all.

The York ASD Partnership strategic plan is being implemented through the work of seven working groups.  Interactive Exhibits were unveiled by each Working Group.  The York ASD Partnership launched our new website at the event.  Information is now available at

Thanks to the generous donations of several partner agencies, Neon Budha, Sears Home Newmarket and the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Delegates were treated to a free draw for several wonderful prizes.  The Launch and Autism Awareness Event was cosponsored by the York ASD Partnership and Autism Ontario.  Please visit for photo highlights of the event.

Work Groups Making Progress

The implementation of our Strategic plan includes the following work groups:

  • Mapping and Pathways (Access)
  • ASD Professional Development
  • Assessment and Screening
  • Physician Support
  • Communications (Awareness campaign)
  • Systems Change
  • Transition Planning

Steady progress towards our goals through the work of each Working Group is being achieved.  Each group will ultimately produce recommendations for systems change that will achieve the Partnerships ultimate goal of enhancing the current system of supports in York Region for people with an ASD and their families.  These recommendations will be collected and formulated into an implementation plan by the Systems Change Work Group using a logic model template.

The Terms of Reference for each Working Group are posted on our website

If you are interested in participating in any of the work groups membership remains open.  Please contact Neil Walker.  (See below)

ABA Funding

A collaboration of several members of the York ASD Partnership in conjunction with Simcoe County services submitted a proposal for the delivery of new ABA-based services for children and youth with an ASD.  The proposal was successful and these services are being delivered jointly by Kerry’s Place Autism Services, York Central Hospital Behaviour Management Services of York and Simcoe, Kinark Child and Family Services and Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York.

The development of the new ABA-based services will facilitate several goals within the York ASD Partnership strategic plan, including the development of short-term supports for behaviour management and emotional regulation skill development, coordinated access and shared electronic records, parent and professional collaboration, additional service components to the continuum of supports, resources for navigation, person directed planning and transition planning.

Communicating & Disseminating the Strategic Plan

New members have been invited to join the partnership from Muki Baum Treatment Centres, Vita Community Living and York Region Associations for Community Living.  As our system plans develop, regular communications with the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children & Youth Services are critical.  To this end a meetings have been scheduled with these groups in November, 2011 and January, 2012.


Sustainability planning is underway with the Partnership Steering Committee.  A funding proposal was submitted to Autism Speaks Canada in June, 2011.  Members of the Partnership are encouraged to make voluntary contributions towards associated costs of the Partnership.  Corporate sponsorships and other fundraising options are being investigated .

The « Info-graphic » below outlines key information on the York ASD Partnership and relevant ASD Statistics.

York ASD Partnership Infograph