Supporting Our Community

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Supporting Our Community

April 2020

Click here to view the full PDF.

In March 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, Autism Ontario conducted a survey in English and French to determine what services it should offer to help children and adults on the autism spectrum, and their families and  caregivers. 

The survey received a total of 182 responses, which we are using to inform our ongoing communications, programming, and resources for our community.

The survey contained three questions:
1. How can Autism Ontario best stay connected with you at this time?
2. Share your ideas of online resources we can create and share.
3. Are there particular needs or challenges you foresee?


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1. How can Autism Ontario best stay connected with you at this time?

All 182 respondents answered this multiple choice question. Respondents were allowed to select more than one answer.


Pie chart indicating that 40% of respondents said, "Sharing at-home activities," 24% of respondents said, "Airing more webinars," 21% said, "Through social media," and 15% said, "Arranging web conference calls with Service Navigators."



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2. Share your ideas of online resources we can create and share.

Here, we asked for your ideas. This question was open-ended and allowed you to write down specifically where you most wanted our help. 125 people answered this question, and many of your ideas had overlapping themes or were suggested
more than once.

We grouped your ideas into three subcategories.

Pie chart indicating that 78% of respondents' answers fell under the category, "Activities & resources for autistic people and their families," 12% fell under "Online support for parents," and 10% fell under "More general needs."



Activities & Resources for Autistic People and their Families

A bar graph indicating that 38 respondents requested "Offline and online recreational activities (board games, puzzles, books, crafts, apps, online games, etc.)," 26 requested "Social stories," 22 requested "Basic ABA concepts (structured play, toilet training, etc.)," 21 requested "Educational and/or curriculum-based activities," and 21 requested "daily routine examples."



Online Support for Parents

A bar graph indicating that 10 respondents saw a need for "Helpline / one-on-one support via teleconferencing or email," 5 respondents saw a need for "Webinars," and 3 respondents saw a need for "List of people/providers willing to assist with home support (support workers, respite, grocery delivery, etc.)"



More General Needs

A bar graph indicating that 6 respondents requested "Help for older children and young adults," 5 requested "Stress management tools," and 4 requested "Advice for nonverbal and/or people with higher support needs."



In Your Own Words!


A vector image of six human avatars, each with a speech bubble. The speech bubbles read: "“How to talk with your autistic child with anxiety about the corona virus,” "Daily living and routine examples," "Basic ABA concepts," "Access to curriculum websites to keep up with schooling," “Any resources that would help with stress, not only for the person on the autism spectrum, but for their caregivers as well,” and "List of people who are willing to assist with home support would be really helpful"




3. Are there particular needs or challenges you foresee?

This was another open ended question where we sought your specific thoughts. We grouped your responses into four types of need, with many replies counting toward multiple types.

A pie chart indicating that 31% of respondents forsaw a need for "Stress and Anxiety Reduction in Parent and Child," 27% saw a need to "Reintroduce Structure into the Home," 23% saw a need for "Support, Resources, and Funding," and 19% saw a need for "Teaching Necessary COVID-19 Safety Measures."


Thank you for sharing your ideas! 

We are listening. 


Supports available from Autism Ontario

We continue to speak directly with government and community leaders to bring
the best ideas together to assist people on the autism spectrum and their families
during this time of social and physical distancing.
Here’s how we are helping during this time:

1. Home based activities
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We have something for everyone! We are working with local businesses and shops to provide take home kits – from ceramic painting to birdhouse making, there are lots of choices. We’re also hosting online trivia events, meet ups and support groups.

2. Webinars
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Our webinars are designed to be an interactive, easy-to-understand, resource for parents, professionals, educators, and people on the spectrum. We have plenty of past webinars available online and more webinars on the way.

3. Social Media
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Our social media pages have never been more active. We’re posting daily activities and resources to keep you busy. We invite you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date.

4. Service Navigators
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Our Service Navigators are available by phone or video conference. They are here to provide information about the Ontario Autism Program and help connect families to service providers and resources available in their local communities.

5. Chapters
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Our 25 Chapters located all over the province continue to provide online support to people of all ages on the spectrum and their families. You can join their mailing list and follow them on social media to hear what they’re up to.

We will continue to remain in touch and accessible through our website and our quarterly magazine, Autism Matters.


Thank you for reading.

We'll see you online!