November 2012 Partnership Communiqué

Have you ever tried to explain the focus of the York ASD Partnership to someone and struggled to find a simple way to describe it? Try this “elevator statement” to simplify the York ASD Partnership goals of coordinated access, knowledgeable service providers and a continuum of services and supports.

“The York ASD Partnership connects you to people who understand Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and streamlines access to coordinated supports and services in York Region.” 

Thank you ASD Partners

What an amazing commitment of time, energy and dedication to the cause of improving the system of supports for people with an ASD and their families in York Region.  After hours of meetings and years of work we are beginning to see the fruits of this commitment as changes to the service system come to life.

The York ASD Partnership would like to thank all the member organizations who have contributed voluntary donations towards the ongoing expenses of implementing our strategic plan.  We are pleased to announce that Neil Walker has been retained as Project Manager for another year through to September, 2013.   A portion of this year’s funds will be used to contract a part-time Assistant Project Manager with no increase to annual costs.  A recruitment process is underway.

 A Growing Interest and Awareness in the York ASD Partnership

Presentations on the accomplishments of the York ASD Partnership have been delivered by request to the Toronto Autism Group, by Lynda Beedham, parent representative, and Neil Walker, Project Manager in July as well as the Simcoe ASD Reference Group, by Jackie Buchanan, parent representative, and Neil Walker, in September.  Members of the York ASD Partnership have subsequently been invited to assist with initial strategic planning in Simcoe.

The York ASD Partnership provided an exhibit booth at the Regional DOCS Conference hosted by York Region Public Health on the 18 Month Well Baby Visit in September.  Seventy five York Region physicians in attendance were very interested in and appreciative of the service access information developed by the York ASD Partnership. Almost all the doctors had some patients diagnosed with an ASD. The York ASD Partnership also exhibited information at the Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium in October.

In November the York ASD Partnership was accepted to present our work and the impact it is having on access to Children’s Mental Health Services at the CMHO Annual Conference.  Cindi Buick, parent representative, and Neil Walker presented.

Check out the York ASD Partnership website for links to recent ASD media coverage.

The York ASD Partnership Facebook page:

( is a valuable resource for information on autism spectrum disorders.  We are working hard to grow this online community, but need your help and support.  We encourage everyone to visit the page, ‘Like’ it, and join the conversation by sharing interesting insights, asking questions, and posting relevant information.

To help generate even greater awareness, you may want to consider posting a status update on your Facebook page about the York ASD Partnership to encourage your own friends to ‘Like’ the page.

York Region ASD Community Training

Thanks to a grant from Autism Speaks Canada, the York ASD Partnership is currently delivering an 8 module certificate training program for Intake and Direct Family Support Workers from any agency in York Region.

The training program will be completed in January, 2013.  In order to sustain this knowledge over time, an on-line version of the course will be available on the York ASD Partnership website by July, 2013.

Launch of the York ASD Coordinated Access System on April 2, 2013.

The completion of the community training program will mean that all York ASD Partnership organizations have adopted use of the electronic record, (Adult  Services Access TBD)  intake workers are knowledgeable about ASD,  best practice interventions, the York Region ASD service system,  use of the access map and workers are prepared to practice the use of the York Region warm transfer protocol.

Stayed tuned for official launch activities and media coverage on April 2, 2013, which is also World Autism Awareness Day.

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

The Terms of Reference for each Working Group are posted on our website .  A total of over 65 people currently sit as members of the York ASD Partnership working groups.

The Mapping & Pathways Access Working Group has designed an Access Pathway Map and has negotiated roles and commitments with key gateway service providers. York Region 211 is currently building a searchable ASD service data-base.  The tools and training in their use will be shared with key players when completed.

The Screening and Assessment Work Group is developing protocols for the use of standardized assessment & screening tools for both diagnosis and intervention planning purposes.  A Red Flags for School Aged Children Screen has been developed to complement the existing Red Flags for Preschool Children.

The Transition Planning Work Group is developing a transition planning protocol for York Region utilizing currently mandated planning tools.

The Communications Work Group has developed awareness tools and communications systems including our new website at and our facebook page.  The Communications Work Group developed a bookmark outlining the system access map for the Mapping and Pathways Work Group.

This group coordinated an ASD awareness article through the York Region New Group for Autism Awareness month.

The Professional Development Work Group

Having managed the launch of the Community Training Program for Intake and Direct Family Support Workers, the Professional Development Work Group is now focused on designing skill development models for other key stakeholders including, physicians and clinicians.  The distribution of protocols developed by the other working groups will also be a focus in the near future.

The Physician Support Work Group has been re-populated.  Co-chairs Sandy Stemp and Frances Donovan welcome new members, Amy Van Leeuwen, Brent Philp, Susan Pearce and Dr. Wendy Roberts.  The group is currently receiving information from the other work groups and planning methods of distribution to physicians across the region.

If you are interested in participating in any of the work group’s membership remains open.  Please contact Neil Walker, York ASD Partnership, Project Manager via email at or

Expanding the York ASD Partnership Membership

New members have joined the York ASD Partnership.  Welcome to Michelle Song, of Muki Baum Treatment Centres, Mary Beth McLeod, York Centre for Children.