Respite Services

For those unfamiliar with the concept of respite, respite care is a family support service that provides temporary relief from the physical and emotional demands involved in caring for a family member who has a disability. Respite creates greater opportunities for all family members to live actively and participate in community activities and allows parents/guardians time for themselves. It can be challenging for families to find suitable respite care providers to work in their homes, or facilities that provide respite care. To facilitate the process, the Geneva Centre for Autism, with funding from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Community and Social Services, and Ministry of Children and Youth Services, hosts an online database of respite care providers and other information related to respite care at

Visitors to our website should be aware that Autism Ontario - Durham Region is not associated with and does not endorse the respite care service providers listed on our website, but merely posts the information in bulletin board format for those seeking respite care services for their children. Bulletin board users are therefore cautioned to use their own best judgment when arranging to interview and/or hire prospective employees or service providers to work directly with their children. Obtaining references from several sources, including satisfied clients, would also be highly recommended.

Camp Winston – 5-acre facility located in Kilworthy, Ontario on Sparrow Lake in the beautiful Muskoka Region (a 2 hour drive north of Toronto) operates annual Autism Weekend Retreat each spring. Participants enjoy music, crafts, sports, boating, hiking and other recreational activities. This weekend serves children and teenagers of all ages while providing relief for families.

Christian Horizons – Whitby Established in 1965 by a group of Christian parents who had children with exceptional needs and felt they had no place to turn for help, what once began as a summer camping program grew to include a wide variety of support and vacation programs across Ontario and even internationally. Today, caring Christian Horizon workers meet the daily physical, emotional and spiritual needs of many children, teens and adults. Whether clients need minimal support or 24-hour care, they enjoy a home environment and an excellent quality of life as they master new skills and make friends. Contact Christian Horizons - email

Community Living Durham North – Port Perry Provides supports to people who have an intellectual disability (and their families). Services span the northern part of Durham Region, including respite care. ● Community Living Oshawa/Clarington - Respite Home - Oshawa Provides respite services to children with developmental disabilities, including autism, up to the age of 18. Click here to learn how to make a referral.

Durham Association for Family Respite Services is a not-for-profit registered charity supporting families throughout Durham Region caring for a child with a developmental or physical disability or high medical needs, or caring for an adult-aged family member with a developmental disability. Community-based services include facilitation, respite and pediatric nursing in home and school settings

footprints logo

FOOTPRINTS is a respite-only outreach program for families with children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).   FOOTPRINTS is unique for it is a volunteer-driven program dedicated to giving the families of children affected by ASD the precious gift of time in a low-cost program that fosters a safe and happy environment for the children.  Established in 2004, FOOTPRINTS is designed for the benefit of the children and to provide a brief period of respite for their families. 

Under the guidance of qualified Program Consultants, and supported by a Marketing &  Fundraising Consultant, a Strategic Consultant and a dedicated Steering Committee, the program trains and utilizes volunteers ranging in age from 16 – 75+ to provide creative, stimulating, and skill-appropriate activities for children with ASD.  In doing so, FOOTPRINTS provides the parents and siblings of these children with a few precious hours of ‘time away’ to recharge, attend to household tasks, or to simply spend some quality time with each other. 

FOOTPRINTS operates in two location in Durham Region, Pickering and Whitby.  For a complete list of respite sessions available, please download our brochure.  Families interested in registering their child for respite may call 905-420-0388 and select Option #1 for Pickering and Option #3 for Whitby.

My Sensory Place of Durham - A respite service for families with children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  My Sensory Place of Durham is unique for it is a volunteer - driven program dedicated to giving the families of children affect by ASD the precious gift of time in a low cost program that fosters a safe and happy environment for the children.  MSPD is designed for the benefit of the children and to provide a brief period of time for their families. It is a respite program with all kinds of activities set up for the children.  The lady that runs the programs is a ECC that works with children with Autism and Special Needs. They are located in Whitby at Hwy 2 and Cochrane on Saturday mornings from 10:00am to 2:00pm. 

Kerry's Place Autism Services - Durham Region Multiple respite opportunities are offered to individuals supported by Kerry's Place Autism Services and their families. The majority of the events/outtings are recreation-based and are either offered free or at a minimal cost to families. Upcoming opportunities for children ages 7 to 12 diagnosed with autism, PDD or Asperger's include Apple Picking, a Hallowe'en Event and a Christmas Event. Upcoming opportunities for adults diagnosed with autism, PDD or Asperger's may include a Blue Jays game, a visit to the Toronto Zoo, Cedar Park or a drive-in movie. For more information and to reserve your spot, call 905-579-2720 x 21 or email

Kinark Outdoor Education Centre – Autism Quest Program & Respite Supported residential recreational experiences on weekends and in the summer for children and youth ages 9-15 with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome. A number of respite/leisure programs for teens and adults with disabilities/special needs are also available at the Kinark Outdoor Education Centre.  Click here for details on the following programs:

Autism Quest - A 5-day residential summer camp experience for children with Autism.

Adolescent Social Recreation - This is a direct funded  MCYS Respite program in response to parents and service providers indicating that there exist social skill developmental service gaps for adolescents in rural areas within the Central East Region.

Autism Family Respite Weekends - This is a social-recreation weekend for six to eight ASD families who are often on the waiting list to receive service.

Autism Summer Family Camp - The program was developed in direct response to families who greatly appreciated the AFR Weekends, but are now looking for an affordable option for families who did not require one-to-one support.

Precious Minds Resource & Learning Centre - North Durham Structured respite programs for kids ages 5 - 18 with developmental disabilities provided by Precious Minds Resource & Learning Centre with financial support from the United Way Ajax-Pickering-Uxbridge.

The Participation House Project (Durham Region) - Life Readiness Program A three week program facilitated by The Participation House Project (Durham Region) intended for adults with a developmental disability with or without a physical disability between the ages of 18 to 35 years. Participants should be heading toward building more independent living skills and living at home with parents, host family or living independently with some supports (SIL). A peer mentoring component for individuals who have completed the summer program in the past is also offered. This program will be offered to a small group of individuals (8 to 10 per week).

● The Rotary Club of Bowmanville - Bowmanville Rotary Club of Bowmanville's Respite Care Program is designed to provide respite care to families living in Clarington. The program provides regularly scheduled short-term care for special needs children so their primary care givers can take some well deserved time for themselves. The program has been running for ten years and employs several students as respite caregivers each summer. The program runs for 10 weeks from June 22 to August 28, 2010. For more information click here

Sunshine Learning Centre Inc - Uxbridge Sunshine Learning Centre Inc offer families a number of different respite care options. In their 1:1 respite care program, a trained therapist works with your child either in centre, in your home or out in the community. Their respite program may include working on play skills, working on social skills, or working on conversational skills. In their small group respite care program, a trained therapist (or therapists) works with a small group of children in centre, in your home, or in the community. Their respite program can be used to facilitate play dates, and can also be used to focus on the development of social skills. Like their ABA/IBI programs, all respite care programs will be individually tailored to the needs of your child. For more information click here

Heartfit Farm is a non profit summer holiday destination for intellectually disabled teens and adults over 18yrs.  They draw on the therapeutic power of animals and the restorative power of nature to calm anxiety, reinforce skills build social skills and dilute fearful new experiences. Staff include career teachers, autism specialists, certified DSW and volunteers who return year after year. Their catchment area is wide and their unique program accepts only 8 guests per week. Families are encouraged to visit the farm and see if it is suitable for their needs. 

Enhanced Day Program - The Enhanced Day Program at 963 Brock Rd-Unit 12, Pickering opened on September 3rd, 2013.  This facility is focused on enriching and enhancing the lives of Adults with Autism in the community. It is a specialized program for individuals with autism, but more specifically for those with complex behaviours. The goal and focus is to involve individuals that would not normally be accepted into a day program or have been turned away from a day program due to complex behaviours. Their Vision at this program is that “All individuals regardless of the complexities of their needs, including those with complex behaviours, will not be turned away from Enhanced Day Program.”  Enhanced Day Program would like to offer these individuals a place to go to on a regular daily basis from Monday to Friday.  The focus at this location will be on physical, cognitive and social
skills and also practical life skill activities. This will be completed through a 3500 square foot facility that has been renovated over the summer that will have a gym, music room, arts & crafts, snoozelin room and a kitchen.  To read an introductory letter click here.  For the brochure click here

●  Tania’s Place is a Center for individuals with special needs.  Our main program is our Day Program that runs Mon – Fri, 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an early morning drop program from 7:30 a.m- 8:00 a.m. We offer structured daily life skill programs, fitness, drama, community & in house work placement, music, art and social activities.  Respite for families for 10 yrs and older.  March Break & summer camps for 10 yrs and older. PD day respite.
We have a new location in Ajax, 74 Commercial Ave Ajax, Ontario.  The facility is just over 8,000 sq ft with two levels which includes a gym, sensory room, multipurpose area, laundry area and full kitchen. We are open for tours and family consultations along with transition planning.  For detailed information please visit our website at or visit our Facebook page.  Click here to see their flyer. 

Improving Lives Respite Services is a fee-for-service private agency operated by Paul and Janet Kalmykow, who are Autism Ontario members.  Our agency offer a number of services to the autism and wider developmental disabilities community in the Greater Toronto Area and Simcoe County:
1) We have one long term group home bed available in our Beeton House Residence, located about 15 minutes west of Bradford.  This is a placement for high needs adults with developmental disabilities, and can be arranged privately or through a transfer payment agency, like YSSN or Catulpa Community Services. If you are seeking a long term placement for your family member or client, please check with your caseworker or call us directly.
2) Short or long term overnight respite “out-of-home” is available on a planned or emergency basis at Beeton House.  We are currently able to accommodate individuals 16 year old plus for stays during the week and for weekends in  a private or semi-private bedroom with high staffing ratios, full board, community outings and activities. Check with us for availability.
3) We can provide both family relief and community support using bonded, insured and background checked support workers that will go to your home or provide support on planned activities out of the home. To obtain more information or to schedule an intake, call us. 
Beeton House is a large estate home located on ten acres in the rolling hills of New Tecumseth near Beeton, and as a group home, conforms to MCSS Quality Assurance Measures (QAM) standards.  The property features a 20x40 in-ground pool, accessible forest and field nature walks, large fenced and gated yard and plenty of fresh air.  All support workers are vetted and are familiar with working with people with ASD and other developmental disabilities and are trained to deal with personal support issues and behavioural challenges. For more details click here.

Victoria House Adult Support Home - Victoria House is a supervised residential group home (domiciliary hostel) for adults with developmental disabilities or individuals who are struggling with mental illness.  All residents are provided with 24-hour support, a private room, and 3 meals a day, along with assistance with medication and self-care activities if required.  For details click here.

Believe Day Program provides a wide variety of programs to support clients on the autism spectrum.  They offer a variety of recreational, life skills and leadership programs. These programs are designed to encourage clients to participate successfully in activities in their communities and day to day function.  Programs include - Day Program - Work Shops - Music Therapy - Camp Program - Vocational Program and Basketball Program.  For more details visit


back to top

Disclaimer | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
© 2019 Autism Ontario Autism Society Ontario Charitable #119248789RR0001