About Us

Who We Are

Our Mission

Chapter Operating Principles

What We Do

Autism Ontario -Durham Region 2015-2016 Chapter Leadership Council

Annual Chapter Meeting

How You Can Get Involved

Stay connected with Autism Ontario - Durham Region

Who We Are

Autism Ontario - Durham Region is a regional chapter of Autism Ontario (formerly known as Autism Society Ontario), a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that every individual with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is provided the means to achieve quality of life as a respected member of society. Currently serving hundreds of families throughout Durham Region, Autism Ontario - Durham Region is comprised of parents and others who volunteer their time, talents, and energy to help improve the lives of children, teens and adults with autism. We rely on donations from individuals and members of the business community to fund our programs and services.

Our Mission

Together with the collective efforts of Autism Ontario (formerly known as Autism Society Ontario), our mission is to provide information, support and friendship to families and community members dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Durham Region; to assist in educating society about autism and the fact that it is a disability; and to help ensure that every individual with autism is given all the opportunities and resources needed to achieve his or her full potential in our community.

Chapter Operating Principles

● The chapter is a proactive, grassroots organization.
The chapter is community-funded and volunteer-driven, continually acknowledging the value of its supporters' and its volunteers' contributions.
● The chapter is focussed on providing support for individuals and families living with autism in Durham Region, serving as a point of connection for friendship and social interaction among families.
● The chapter is a knowledge organization, maintaining a dynamic website linking users to detailed information on autism services, training opportunities and resources offered by community service providers in Durham Region.
● The chapter is an educator, providing information to build public awareness of autism with stakeholders and the general community in Durham Region.
● The chapter is collaborative, building partnerships with local community service providers to provide programs and services, and working with Autism Ontario provincial office and its chapters to achieve a common vision.
● The chapter is committed to providing quality services for families living with autism in Durham Region, carefully planning its programs and services and measuring the results, with the goal of continually improving the way the chapter operates and offers its services.

What We Do

● Share Information
Parents of individuals with autism seek information about treatment methods, resources, current issues, and research findings. While Autism Ontario - Durham Region does not specifically endorse any treatment, program, product or service, we support the right of parents to be informed of all available options. To that end, Autism Ontario - Durham Region facilitates the sharing of autism-related information in several ways:
- By providing free access to this website
- By providing free access to our E-News Group
- By responding to requests for information from individuals and groups in the community through our toll free phone line (1-866-495-4680), by email (durham@autismontario.com) or in person

● Offer Support Families living with autism face tremendous stresses and pressures.
Talking to others who deal with similar issues can be very therapeutic and go a long way in helping family members cope with the day-to-day challenges that autism presents. To meet this need, Autism Ontario - Durham Region offers monthly Autism Support Groups, providing a relaxed, informal atmosphere for parents and others to discuss the challenges—as well as the joys and hopes—of living with autism. To locate an autism support group near you, click here.

● Encourage Friendship
Members of our community and their families look forward to and enjoy the annual Autism Ontario - Durham Region Family Swim and BBQ, annual Family Weekend Fun Day and annual Christmas Pancake Breakfast. These special events offer children with autism, their siblings, and parents the opportunity to get together for food, fun and friendship.

● Build Community Capacity
Durham Region is one of 7 communities in Ontario benefitting from the Autism Ontario Potential Programme. Click here for more details.

We Also ...

● Promote Public Awareness
We participate in the province-wide Raise the Flag for Autism awareness campaign on World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd.  Autism Ontario -Durham Region volunteers give presentations about autism, striving to foster tolerance and understanding through education in schools and agencies across Durham Region as well as host awareness tables at various locations and dates throughout the region.

● Facilitate Advocacy Autism Ontario
Durham Region has Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) representatives for both the public and separate school boards in Durham Region. As they raise issues affecting the autism community at monthly school board meetings, our SEAC Representatives are the voice for students living with autism in Durham Region.

● Provide Resources Autism Ontario
Durham Region donates autism resources to the Public Library system in Durham Region. We maintain a list of autism resources donated by our chapter currently in circulation. Materials are available across the region to the public through interlibrary loan.

Autism Ontario -Durham Region 2016-2017 Chapter Leadership Council

President:  John Higo

Secretary:  Zita Mineiro

Treasurer:  Ashley Arruda

Volunteer Coordinator:  Heidi Stephenson

Events Coordinator: Heidi Stephenson

Communications Coordinator/E-News & Website Editor: Julie Wormington

Social Media Coordinator:  Lilian Tieu

Fundraising Coordinator:  Sharon Lakhan

Young Adults Coordinator (non-voting):  Ana Marple

Advocacy Coordinator:  vacant

Membership Coordinator: vacant

Public SEAC Rep.: Audrey Higo

Alternate Public SEAC Rep.: Melodie Vaughan

Catholic SEAC Rep.:  Emily Van de Klippe 

Alternate Catholic SEAC Rep.:  vacant

Annual Chapter Meeting

The Annual Chapter Meeting this year is May 17, 2017. Stay tuned for more details.

Click here to print nomination forms. (currently being updated)

Click here to review position descriptions. (currently being updated)

To Our Members and Community,

As members of the Chapter Leadership Council (CLC) of Autism Ontario – Durham Chapter, there is nothing we love more than to watch our members enjoying quality family time at one of our events. Whether it’s a Family Day, a Summer BBQ, a trip to the Pumpkin Patch, or Breakfast with Santa, those smiles make everything we do worthwhile.

Did you know that Autism Ontario - Durham Chapter is run solely by volunteers? Some of us work full time outside of the home, while others are stay at home moms. Some of us have children on the spectrum, while others do not. Some of us are able to volunteer many hours of our precious time, while others can only spare a few. The point is: we are each doing all that we can to continue to provide support to our members and their families.

All local chapters of Autism Ontario must have a Chapter Leadership Council (CLC) with a minimum of three (3) elected members. There are several members who are not returning for the 2017-2018 year. If the minimum requirement is not met, Autism Ontario will have no choice but to mandate our Chapter closed. We have come close to closing our doors a few times, and it is not a prospect we ever want to face again.

We, your CLC, urge you to join us, come and volunteer with us. It’s a rewarding and fun way to connect with others, spread awareness, and help your fellow members.

To learn more about the positions available, please visit the About Us page on our website at autismontario.com/durham.

Chapter Leadership Council
Autism Ontario-Durham Region

How You Can Get Involved

- Become a member of Autism Ontario - Durham Region. 

The Top 10 Reasons You Should Have an Autism Ontario Membership

To become a member or renew your membership click here

- Volunteer - Join our Chapter Leadership Council (see above).  We are currently recruiting volunteers other tasks.  See our Volunteer page for details.

- Make a tax-deductible donation - For more information on how you can donate to our Chapter click here.

For more information, contact Autism Ontario - Durham Region: Toll Free Phone: 1-866-495-4680 Email: durham@autismontario.com

Stay connected with Autism Ontario - Durham Region

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