YASDP Communique Fall-Winter 2016

YASDP Communique Fall-Winter 2016  [download 6 pg pdf]


The York ASD Partnership continues to be actively engaged in the work that has
accomplished so many goals and continues to move us through the next stages in the
process. As always, we want to acknowledge the consistent commitment of time,
energy and dedication to improving the system of supports for people with ASD and their
families in York Region of the partner agencies, and most importantly, the parent
representatives that are the driving force behind our many successes.
The York ASD Partnership would also like to extend our ongoing thanks to all the
member organizations whose ongoing voluntary contributions have supported the
expenses for implementation of our strategic plan. Neil Walker continues as Project
Manager and Janette Seymour continues as Assistant Project Manager through to
March 31, 2017.


Early in 2016, the York ASD Partnership submitted an application to the Ontario Trillium
Foundation for a 1-year $75,000 seed grant. In the spring, we were notified that our
application was successful. The primary focus of this project will be the development of
a comprehensive, community based strategic plan that will identify enhancements to the
current system and map the future of services and supports for youth and adults with
ASD in York Region. This will include a needs analysis of adult services in York Region,
engagement of all relevant parties in the community planning process, the inclusion of
adults with ASD in the planning and needs identification process and the development of
outcome evaluation strategies to measure the impact and success of our plan. The plan
will address existing challenges such as ensuring that the transition for children and
youth into adult supports and services is seamless, ensuring that youth and adults with
ASD are participants in planning and implementation, ensuring that supports and
services exist to meet the needs of youth and adults with ASD and enhancing the
connection between youth and adults with ASD and their communities resulting in a
better quality of life.

The York ASD Partnership will continue the emphasis on making improvements in the
children’s service sector. At the same time, we have recognized the need to broaden
our focus to enhancing service systems for adults with ASD and their families,
measuring the impact of our work and expanding the reach of our collaborative
partnerships. The Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe / York acted as the
charitable, not-for-profit host for the application and provides ongoing oversight to the
York ASD Partnership finances. The funds and project activities related to this grant will
be managed by the York ASD Partnership.


As the first step in the development of this new strategic plan, in August 2016 we posted
an RFP to contract a facilitator. This facilitator will help lead the York ASD Partnership
through these processes resulting in a fully staged strategic plan. After a comprehensive
process of applications, screening and interviews, the contract was offered to Kathyrn
Everest. Kathryn brings a wealth of public and private sector experience to the table and
is the parent of an adult son with ASD. More information about Kathryn can be found on
her website kathryneverestconsulting.com We look forward to an exciting and
productive relationship. Welcome Kathryn. At the same time, a posting for a part time
contract position for administrative support was posted. Again, after a process of
screening and interviews, we were delighted to offer the contract to Brooke
Couperthwaite. Brooke also brings extensive experience and is the parent of a young
son with ASD. Welcome Brooke.


The Crisis Response Working Group, chaired by Chris Simmons-Physick from Kinark
Child and Family Services has been focusing on working with the York Region Mental
Health Collaborative to implement a series of proposals funded through the Ministry of
Children and Youth Services (MCYS) related to prevention of youth suicide. The first
year of funding, 2014, was used to conduct scan of existing crisis and suicide prevention
services. This scan was conducted over the summer of 2014 by an outside consultant,
Paul Muldoon.

His report was presented to the members of the York ASD Partnership and the Mental
Health Collaborative in January 2015. This report, available on our website is entitled
MHC ASD Crisis Intervention Suicide Prevention Report (June 2015)

In 2015, additional grant money was made available to this group and in October of that
year, “Train the Trainer” ASIST training was provided to staff of various service providers
across the region.

The third year of grant funding (2016) was targeted to provide resource material and
recommend adaptations to suicide prevention and intervention programs to
accommodate child and youth with ASD. This resulted in a 3-hour comprehensive
training session that was offered to two separate groups in October and November,
2016. The target group for this training were staff from various service provision
agencies in the region who had already participated in a formal training program for
suicide prevention and intervention such ASIST. Facilitators for this training included Dr.
Kevin Stoddard, a renowned expert in ASD and mental health, Kristine Galloway, a
consultant from Kerry’s Place and Patrick McAthey, an adult with ASD with related life
experience and a willingness to share his knowledge and experience. Feedback from
this training was overwhelmingly positive with 96% of participants indicating they were
satisfied or very satisfied with the workshop overall. A detailed report on the workshops
and the feedback from participants will be available on our website.

Additionally, an electronic application (APP) is being developed for first responders
trained in suicide prevention and intervention. This APP provides tips and strategies for
interacting with children and youth with ASD where there is a risk of suicide. The APP
will be available by January 2017.


In November 2016, the York Region District School Board hosted their annual Quest for
Student Achievement Conference. The theme for this conference was “Deep Learning
in a Digital World. For a second year in a row, in addition to an information table,
members of the York ASD Partnership delivered a presentation called “Breaking Barriers
to Learning for Students with ASD”. This presentation focused on the positive impact that
assistive technology has on learning for students with ASD. Our message was that
technology is an essential teaching tool for those with ASD which sparked extensive
discussion and exchange of ideas. Two parent representatives, Rahila Chugtai, an
active member of the Communication Working Group and Alana Shields Barker, retired
from the Communication Working Group, again took the lead on this project. With the
assistance of Andrew Barker, a young adult with ASD, they developed and delivered the
presentation to a full room of interested teachers, administrators and support staff. We
also hosted a York ASD Partnership table with the support of staff from various Partner
agencies who shared table duties and spent time talking to attendees about the York
ASD Partnership, describing its mission and model.

The success of this project is another in a long list of examples of the critical role that
parent representation plays in ensuring that the work of the York ASD Partnership is
successful. These parents volunteer their time to share their expertise, energy, and
experiences. It is hard to imagine the York ASD Partnership without the input and
support of our parent volunteers.


As a reminder, in the spring of 2015, the Communications Working Group of the York
ASD Partnership conducted an on-line survey of parents to assess the impact of this
new co-ordinated access system. The survey was made available through Survey
Monkey throughout the spring of 2015. A complete summary of the results is now
available on the York ASD Partnership website

The vision of the York ASD Partnership is to improve the service system for people with
ASD and their families. One of our first goals was to achieve co-ordinated access
meaning that any call to an agency involved in the York ASD Partnership will lead
people with ASD and their families to the appropriate resource and action. The results of
this survey suggest that we are achieving our goals and attaining our vision. Next steps
will look at maintaining and sustaining these results.
Read more under Ad Hoc Coordinated Access Working Group below.

Welcome to Christian Horizons , who joined the York ASD Partnership this fall.


Over the past 5 years, the York ASD Partnership has provided a number of training
opportunities. In 2011, training was provided to intake workers across York Region to
increase their understanding of ASD and provide coordinated access to families seeking
services and supports. This training was funded by an Autism Speaks grant. In 2013,
training was provided to mental health workers across York Region to increase their
understanding of ASD and provide the necessary adaptations to evidence based mental
health practices to improve services to children and youth with ASD and mental health
concerns. This training was also funded by an Autism Speaks grant. In 2016, as
described above, training was provided to staff across York Region with suicide
prevention and intervention training in the adaptations and accommodations to support
child and youth with ASD at risk for suicide. This training was funded through the
Ministry of Children and Youth Services. All three of these training programs were
videoed and edited into modules to be available as on-line training modules. The
Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe/York has graciously agreed to act as host for
these training modules on their Community Learning site. Access to these modules will
be available to agency staff through their organization. The Intake Worker Training and
the Mental Health Worker Training will be available by January 2017. The Suicide
Prevention and Intervention Training will be available by March 2017.


Communications Working Group continues to focus on maintaining the public profile
of the York ASD Partnership. The website, social media, press coverage and parent
engagement are all within the purview of this group. Members facilitated the information
table and presentation by the York ASD Partnership at the Quest for Student
Achievement Conference in November 2016 (details above). This group continues to
develop and implement plans to support the distribution of the various documents
developed by the York ASD Partnership including the Co-ordinated Access bookmark,
the Physician Referral Guide bookmark, the Indicators for ASD with School Age Children
Guide, the Transitions to Adulthood checklist and the Transitions brochure.
Crisis Response Working Group continues to develop its work plan to identify and
mitigate risk and to develop safety plans which support children and youth with mental
health needs across York Region.

Ad Hoc Coordinated Access Working Group: The vision of the York ASD Partnership
is to improve the service system for people with ASD and their families. One of our first
goals was to achieve co-ordinated access meaning that any call to an agency involved in
the York ASD Partnership will lead people with ASD and their families to the appropriate
resource and action. Results of the Parent Survey conducted by the Communications
Working Group survey suggested that while we are achieving our goals and attaining our
vision, the degree of change in some areas could be enhanced. Specifically, although
the frequency of “warm transfer” for parents has increased, there was room for
improvement. As a result, the Ad Hoc Coordinated Access Working Group was formed.
Members of this working group include representatives from the gateway agencies and
the group is being chaired by Neil Walker, Project Manager. Using Results Based
Accountability as a framework, the group determined that their first task was to increase
the frequency of warm transfers to the appropriate gateway agency for families seeking
initial services in York Region. As a first step, the group conducted a survey of intake
workers to determine their understanding of “warm transfer” and to explore some of the
barriers to consistent implementation of “warm transfer”.
Results of this survey have assisted with the development of a work plan that includes a
revision of the existing “warm transfer” protocol. The work for this group will continue
throughout the winter of 2017.

On temporary hiatus while the new strategic plan is being developed:
● Professional Development
● Adults Supports and Services

If you are interested in participating in any of the working groups, membership remains
open. Please contact Neil Walker, Project Manager
via email at YorkASD@kerrysplace.org

Having fulfilled their Terms of Reference, the following Working Groups have disbanded:
● Mapping and Pathways (Access)
● Transition Planning
● Screening and Assessment
● Physician Support


The York ASD Partnership maintains an active social media presence including
Facebook and Twitter. Contact Sue Walters via email to the York Region Chapter of
Autism Ontario at york.communications@autismontario.com

Several representatives at the Partnership Table and on various working groups have
retired, moved into new and more challenging positions or had to leave us for other
reasons. We would like to thank all of our past participants for their hard work and
dedication to our vision. Updated Working Group membership lists are available on the
Partnership website.