Adult and Youth Services

These are some resources that may be helpful for your family. We do not endorse any external organizations or websites, and we encourage you to contact them directly to find the best fit for your family.

For more resources or support, please contact Katie, our Family Resource Coach, at 519-886-9992 ext. 2 or frc@aswr.ca.

First Steps:

Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) can help you connect to services and supports in the Waterloo Region, as well as funding options (if you are eligible).

ODSP can help you get monthly income support (if you are eligible).

General Adult Services and Supports

Counselling Collaborative Program: The Region of Waterloo has agreements with seven community counselling agencies to provide counselling services. If you are currently receiving Ontario Works or are in the Ontario Disability Support Program you are eligible to receive up to eight counselling sessions free of charge.

Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) helps adults with developmental disabilities connect to services and supports in their communities. DSO is the central access point for Ministry-funded services and supports, including direct funding (i.e. Passport).

Bridges to Belonging is based around their work as planners and facilitators. They support people with unique needs to create the life they want in the community.

ODSP: If you have a disability and need help with your living expenses, you may be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). ODSP offers two kinds of support: income support and employment supports.

Planned Lifetime Networks helps families to plan a safe, secure and quality future for our family member living with a disability. We believe the best guarantee of a good life is the presence of caring friends actively involved in our lives. PLN assists in the development of a network of committed friends in relationship with the person with a disability and each other.

Initiative to Increase Safeguards for Adults Who Are Vulnerable to Abuse and Neglect in Central West Region. This initiative is committed to improve safeguards for adults with developmental disabilities. Within this website you will find resources to aid in helping individuals with developmental disabilities to live safer lives as full citizens in our communities.

Region of Waterloo Supportive Housing: There is both affordable housing and a number of longer term housing options with support programs in Waterloo region.

General Information

Asperger Adults is a website that seeks to talk about not only A.J. Mahari’s own experience as an adult with Asperger’s and her insights and continued pushing her limits to help herself and to teach and help others, but also this website seeks to call attention to the differences in most females with Asperger’s from males with AS.

Autism Bulletin: ASWR’s monthly bulletin has listings of Autism-related events, programs, and services that may be relevant to you.

Autism Empowerment Radio Network aims to be your podcast source for Acceptance, Enrichment, Inspiration and Empowerment within the autism and Asperger communities locally, regionally and worldwide. Our radio shows are featured programs of Autism Empowerment.

Creating a Good Life in Community: A Guide on Person-Directed Planning: This Guide on Person-Directed Planning has been written to assist families and people with developmental disabilities to plan for their future. Person-directed planning puts the person with a disability at the heart of important decisions that affect their life. Also available in a Plain Language Version.

Kitchener Public Library Autism Collection: To help families living with autism, Kitchener Public Library houses a unique health information collection, comprised of materials dealing with the condition of autism.

Ontario Partnership for Adults with Aspergers and Autism is a province-wide leadership group. OPAAA is a distinct, collective voice for the unique needs of transitional aged youth and the estimated 50,000+ adults living with ASD in Ontario. AutismONTARIO is the lead organization in OPAAA.
Autism Advisors are printable excerpts from the adult manual “Living with ASD”. These brief, single topic documents can assist parents and adults living with ASD in educating family members, employers, service providers and community leaders on an “as needed” basis.

Employment Supports and Information

The DSO and ODSP have employment supports.

Canadian Mental Health Association employment supports:  Employment Services assists individuals with disabilities in Waterloo Region and Wellington County to obtain competitive, paid employment.

Disabilities Mentoring Day: bridges the communication and knowledge gaps between business, employment and community support organizations, and persons with disabilities. The goals of Disabilities Mentoring Day are to address and debunk the myths that many employers have regarding the skills, talents and capabilities of job and training ready persons with disabilities; to enhance internship, co-operative education and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities; to increase confidence among students and job seekers with disabilities; to give employers an opportunity to benchmark themselves as being accessible to what is a largely untapped pool of talent as well as a massive consumer market.

The Employer’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome: This guide was written to show employers how to utilize the talents of a capable, intelligent, well-educated and underutilized work force: individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Employment Toolkit (Autism Speaks): As an adult on the autism spectrum, you have strengths and abilities that employers are just beginning to understand. Autism Speaks has written this Employment Tool Kit to help you research, find and keep employment in the current, competitive labor market.

Free Guides for Adults with Aspergers and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder: Getting Hired: A Primer for Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome & Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and Workplace Disclosure: Strategies for Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and NLD.

Lutherwood’s ACE (Achieving Competitive Employment) Program: The ACE program provides employment services for persons with disabilities. The program focuses on both employment assistance and self-employment assistance, providing services that either help clients find jobs or create their own job. ACE is funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Specialisterne Canada helps businesses and employers understand, value, and integrate the unique perspective and capabilities of people on the autism spectrum. See employment workshops and current opportunities.

Private ABA Therapy and other fee-for-service programs

The ABACUS website aims to serve as the best possible source of information so that parents, caregivers, and the general community can be informed consumers of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Ontario.

Bartimaeus Inc. provides behaviour programming and respite services in the family home, as well as hospital and workplace support. The local Bartimaeus contact is Cheryl, who can let you know specifics about services, fees, etc.

Jill Bernhard is an independent therapist, and offers an in-home cooking program called Partners in the Kitchen for individuals with autism.

Light House programs are designed and staffed by teachers and educational assistants who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in program planning, recreational therapy, behaviour management and social skills programming. Includes day programs, evening and weekend programs, social events, and a multi-sensory Snoezelen room.

Sexual Health

A 5 is Against the Law: Social Boundaries – Straight Up! An honest guide for teens and young adults. Building on Kari Dunn Buron’s popular The Incredible 5-Point Scale, this book takes a narrower look at challenging behavior with a particular focus on behaviors that can spell trouble for adolescents and young adults who have difficulty understanding and maintaining social boundaries.

Asperger’s Syndrome and Sexuality – In this comprehensive and unique guide, Isabelle Henault delivers practical information and advice on issues ranging from puberty and sexual development, gender identity disorders, couples’ therapy to guidelines for sex education programs and maintaining sexual boundaries. This book will prove indispensable to parents, teachers, counsellors and individuals with AS themselves.

DSRC regularly offers workshops on sexual health, puberty, etc., see the DSRC newsletter for information.

Social Support

A-Team Support Group for adults with Aspergers (3rd Thursday of the month): This monthly group is intended for adults aged 19+, who are either diagnosed or self-identify with Asperger’s Syndrome and who are seeking support. Our goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment to meet fellow adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, discuss topics, share experiences, and embrace our neurological diversity. We welcome any communicative adults on the spectrum, who are able to function at a vocational level with some degree of independence. RSVP required, space is limited. Contact the group organizers at ateam.waterlooregion@gmail.com for information on meeting dates and times.

Adult Asperger’s Group: offers adult clients of DSRC, who have Asperger’s Syndrome, an opportunity to participate in lively discussion by addressing the issues that people with Asperger’s face on a daily basis. Topics are generated based on group members’ input. The group meets at local restaurants and hangouts within the community every other Tuesday from 3:00 p.m. ‐ 5:00 p.m. Must be eligible and referred through the DSO. Call 519-741-1121 or see the latest newsletter for information.

Adults in Motion provides a fun, creative and meaningful day program for young adults with developmental disABILITIES in the K-W region.

Autism Ontario Support Group for Adults and Parents of Adults (2nd Thursday of each month): If you’re an adult with ASD and would like to connect with others, join us for our new group. Or, are you the parent or adult sibling of an individual with ASD who is 19 years of age or older? Are you looking for a supportive environment where you can share successes and challenges, ask questions or just connect with other parents / caregivers? Group meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region. Details posted on the Autism Spectrum Connection calendar.

Open Space is a weekly gathering that promotes inclusion within the community by getting people together at a cafe for food, fun and conversation.   In addition to weekly coffee and conversation, with the support of facilitators, attendees plan special events such as Halloween parties, and Open Mic Nights.  All are welcome regardless of ability, and you do not need to be supported by Extend-A-Family to attend. Locations in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge.

WRFN Coffee Club is a drop-in social group for people with disabilities, ages 16 and up, that focuses on creating community through planned social activities such as participating in crafts, playing games, and watching movies. We also have community outings to restaurants, events and community spaces. We meet twice a month, on Monday evenings from 7 to 9pm.

Support for Teens and Young Adults

Adults in Motion provides a fun, creative and meaningful day program for young adults with developmental disABILITIES in the K-W region.

Aspace brings together high school students wanting to meet peers who also have Aspergers or High Functioning Autism. Outings and activities are chosen by participants, and every night is supported by trained university volunteers.

Firefly Just for Teens: Check out the current offerings for teens (programs include Social Focus, Eat, Cook and Mingle!, and Firefly Rocks!)

Just Hangin’ Out: This program focuses on life skills and building confidence.  Our experienced staff and volunteer team guide teens with disabilities through food preparation, active games, guest speaker visits and a trip in our community.  Youth ages 13-21.

Youth Drop In at KidsAbility (last Friday of the month): A fun and comfortable social opportunity for youth and young adults with physical, developmental, communication or behaviour disabilities. Please join us for sports, crafts, cooking, friendship and lots of fun! See the Ages 6 and Up KidsAbility Program & Activity Guide for more information. Ages 13-25.

Youth in Transition program brings teens and young adults of all abilities together in a fun, supportive environment to help them prepare for becoming an independent adult.

FAQ

I think I/my child may be on the autism spectrum. Where can I get an assessment?

Below are some options for getting an assessment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Eligibility and cost varies with each option.

Who can help me to advocate for myself/my child within the school system?

The following agencies/organizations can assist you in navigating the education system and advocating for yourself or your child:

Who can help me/my child with mental health concerns (i.e. anxiety, stress/coping)?

Here are some services in our community that can assist with mental health concerns:

Are there any supports for people who don’t have a diagnosis of ASD yet?

Below are some resources that you may find useful prior to receiving a formal diagnosis of ASD:

See answers to question #3 for mental health supports

What are some sources of funding that I or my family may be eligible for?

*Please note that the Q&A is for general information only and may not pertain to your specific situation. For more detailed and personalized information, please contact the Family Resource Coach directly.