Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Schools

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services are partnering on a one-year Pilot to Improve School-Based Supports for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The pilot will take place during the 2017-18 school year and has two approaches:

    • Targeted Education Assistant (EA) Training
      • This approach will explore a targeted 40-hour online training module for EAs designed by Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA) and based on the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Registered Behaviour Technician (RBT) task list.
    • Dedicated Space for Autism Services
      • This approach will explore the provision of dedicated space on school site in a select number of schools for external ABA practitioners to provide direct service to students with ASD.
      • Students with ASD enrolled in a pilot school who are receiving ABA services from an external ABA practitioner are eligible to receive services in the dedicated space.

A total of eighteen boards will be participating in the pilot. Eleven pilot boards will be participating in both approaches while the remaining seven will participate in the Targeted EA Training approach only (see list below).

Participating boards have also been provided with funding to hire an additional BCBA to support teachers and EAs to improve supports for students with ASD.

This pilot is a measured approach as a first step towards greater integration of autism supports in schools. Piloting in 18 school boards across the province will allow us to closely monitor and evaluate the outcomes of the pilot approaches over the 2017-18 school year and will inform future direction.

Families with a child enrolled in a pilot school board requesting additional information should contact the school board directly for more information (see contact information below).

Questions regarding other school boards can be directed to the Ministry of Education at: information.met@ontario.ca


District School Boards (DSB) Pilot Approaches Public Contact Information School Site for Dedicated Space*
CS de district catholique de l’Est ontarien Dedicated space & EA training pierre.a.morin@csdceo.org For more details please contact the school board
CS des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario Dedicated space & EA training carole.marcoux@cepeo.on.ca Ecole élémentaire publique Marie-Curie
837 Quinlan Rd,
Ottawa, ON
Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic DSB Dedicated space & EA training asdpilot@hwcdsb.ca For more details please contact the school board
Hamilton-Wentworth DSB Dedicated Space & EA training ASDPilot@hwdsb.on.ca For more details please contact the school board
Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB Dedicated space & EA training lloyd_schoenmaker@kprdsb.ca Newcastle Public School
Newcastle, ON
Ottawa-Carleton DSB Dedicated space & EA training ASDpilot@ocdsb.ca First Avenue Public School
Ottawa, ON
St. Clair Catholic DSB Dedicated space & EA training cathy.calvert@st-clair.net
St. Matthew Catholic School
Sarnia, ON
Thunder Bay Catholic DSB Dedicated space & EA training asargent@tbcschools.ca For more details please contact the school board
Toronto Catholic DSB Dedicated Space & EA training emmy.szekeresmilne@tcdsb.org For more details please contact the school board
Toronto DSB Dedicated space & EA training Lydia.Tisma@tdsb.on.ca West Glen Junior School
Etobicoke, ON
Algoma DSB Dedicated space & EA training phillic@adsb.on.ca Parkland Public School
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic DSB EA training info@alcdsb.on.ca EA training only
CS catholique de district des Grandes Rivières EA training richard.loiselle@cscdgr.education EA training only
Durham Catholic DSB EA training AutismPilot@dcdsb.ca EA training only
Northeastern Catholic DSB EA training amarks@ncdsb.on.ca EA training only
Rainy River DSB EA training charlayne.bliss@mail.rrdsb.com EA training only
Thames Valley DSB EA training (519) 452-2000 EA training only
Wellington-Catholic DSB EA training eileen.clinton@wellingtoncdsb.ca brian.capovilla@wellingtoncdsb.ca EA training only

*School sites subject to change at the discretion of the school board


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How were pilot schools chosen?

A. Pilot boards represent the province in terms of rural/urban, French/English, Catholic/public and large/small.

Each of the 11 pilot boards implementing dedicated space selected one site for the dedicated space pilot based on local context/need.

There is no dedicated space at the other 7 boards.

Q. Which students are eligible for the pilot?

A. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) enrolled in a pilot school who are receiving applied behavioural analysis (ABA) services from an external ABA practitioner are eligible to access the dedicated space. All students with ASD in pilot boards will benefit from the increased expertise as a result of the targeted EA training and additional ABA Expertise Professional with Board Certified Behaviour Analyst certification.

Q. Who will be able to access the dedicated space to deliver ABA services?

A. Subject to school board policies, external ABA practitioners will be able to access the dedicated space in pilot schools to deliver ABA services.

This includes MCYS-funded ABA practitioners (Direct Funding Option (DFO) and Direct Service Option (DSO) and privately purchased ABA practitioners.

Q. What supports and services are available for students with autism spectrum disorder who are not taking part in the pilots?

A. Our government is committed to ensuring that every student has access to the supports they need to succeed in school, including students with ASD. We are making changes to be more responsive to the needs of all students and to increase our focus on supporting their achievement and well-being.

The Special Education Grant is projected to increase to approximately $2.856 billion in 2017-18. This represents an increase of approximately $69.2 million or 2.5 percent over 2016-17; and $359.6 million or 14.4 percent since 2012-13. SEG funding is enveloped for special education programs, services and equipment. Any unspent special education funding must be treated as deferred revenue for special education.

In addition, as a result of the education sector labour negotiations and discussions, the ministry has agreed to establish a Local Priorities Fund (LPF) of $223.2 million province-wide in 2017-18. The LPF will allow boards to address a range of local priorities and needs. This may include more special education staffing to support children in need, "at -risk" students and adult education.

We are supporting the transition to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) which is the MCYS plan to transform children’s autism services and to work across government to improve supports for Ontarians with autism throughout their lives. The OAP will provide families with more flexible and individualized services at varying levels of intensity based on their children’s specific needs. In June 2016, we announced $39 million in one-time funding to support school boards as the province transitions to the OAP.

Q. What happens after the pilot ends? Will the Ministry consider further expansion?

A. The one year pilot will take place during the 2017-18 school year. We have secured an external researcher to monitor and evaluate the pilot.

The researcher’s findings, along with recommendations from the Provincial Advisory Team (PAT), will inform future direction.