Your Source for All Things Respite

Go to the Toronto section of for informatoin on a variety of programs and offerings, including details on the funding available for family-directed respite.

Family Camp Program at the Kinark Outdoor Centre

Parenting a child with autism is uniquely challenging and very demanding. The Kinark Outdoor Centre, with its skilled professional staff and specialized facilities, supports children with autism and their families with life changing camp experiences. Kinark Outdoor Centre - Providing Outdoor Education, Skill Development and Adventure-Based Programming since 1985.

CLICK HERE to see the flyer

Services for Transition Youth and Adults:

Geneva Centre for Autism offers a wide range of services that promote personal choice, growth and independence in support of successful community inclusion. Respite programs are once a week and are available on weekdays (3:30 pm – 8:30 pm) and weekends (9:30 am – 3:30 pm). All of our programs are guided by an empowerment oriented approach whereby each individual’s strengths, abilities, and interests are respected and emphasized.

Life Skills Groups
These groups focus on developing life skills in the home and community with the ultimate goal of increasing independence and self-sufficiency.

Social Skills Groups
These groups focus on developing social skills related to regulating emotions, relationship building, and navigating social difficulties.

Educational Groups
These groups focus on educational activities related to homework completion and university/college preparation.

Recreational Groups
These groups focus on leisure activities that are exciting and stimulating. Participants will have a chance to socialize, build friendships, and have fun!

Vocational Groups
These groups focus on teaching leadership and pre-vocational skills. Special emphasis will be placed on learning skills that will help secure a volunteer placement or first job.


For more information contact

Family Respite Weekends
Kinark Outdoor Centre offers respite weekends and family weekends. For more information, contact Jim McHardy at 1-800-805-8252 or or visit their web site.

Respite for Those Supporting Youth or Young Adults
East Metro Youth Services, an agency in East Toronto, has developed a respite program for parents of youth and young adults (12 - 24). For more information, visit or contact Deborah Kernohan (, 416-438-3697.

Respite for Those Supporting Adults
Kerry's Place Autism Services, offers adult weekend respite for families or caregivers who are supporting an adult (18 years and up) at home who is living with Autism Spectrum Disorder to take a break. Participants can join in social, recreation and life skill activities in the local community. Located at Kerry's Place Rusholme Road location. For details, contact Bridget Goldenberg, 416-534-1644 x226.

In-home Respite
Getting a break for yourself, you and your spouse, or the rest of the family, is important. In Toronto, is a clearing house of respite information and services, including the CHAP (Community Helpers for Active Participation) program, which matches up families in need with trained and motivated helpers. You can post a request for a worker with particular skills, or browse the database of potential workers. All workers are screened, given a police check, and given some basic training. You engage with the workers independently of the program, however. The Web site also allows you to search for possible CHAPS workers, or post a position for your family.
Respite services also runs a series of workshops that are open to registered families and workers. Workshops include, among other topics:
* first aid
* recreation support
* behavioural therapy
* crisis intervention
To register for a workshop (you or your worker must be registered with the organization), contact Natalie Blackwell at 416-422-7045, ext. 7 or visit the web site.  Another valuable resource at this organization is Anna Marie Teasdale, Access Facilitator for Autism, who can be reached at ext. 3.

Away-from-home Respite has a program for low-cost overnight respite at a specialized facility in the east (Ellesmere and McCowan) or west (Eglinton and Dufferin). For an application form, call Access and Information at 647-426-3219. Note that among other things you will need to have a medical information form completed by your family doctor. An assessment interview will be conducted, and you will have the opportunity to visit the home.

TRE-ADD offers a respite program where people with ASD can stay on the grounds of Thistletown Regional Centre for weekends to give their families a break.
Reena offfers a summer cottage program for teens (over 16) and adults with a developmental disability. The program offers participants a variety of activities while giving families a break. Registration is due by mid-May. Contact Reena at 905-889-2690 x2112.
Although not formally respite programs, Reena's "Sunday Friends Club" and "After School Cool Club" offer 4 - 6 hour social programs for ages 7 and up, which gives valuable programming to the person with ASD while offering a bit of respite for the family. For more information on any of these program, contact Gloria at 905-889-2690 x2116. Reena operates out of the Toby & Henry Battle Development Centre in Thornhill (Yonge, north of Steeles).
Kerry's Place Autism Services and On the Move are offering a Saturday respite program for parents or caregivers of adults with ASD or developmental disabilities who are living at home. For more information, call On The Move at (416) 544-8847 or Kerry's Place Autism Services at (416) 560-1516.


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