Overview

Starting in January 2022, eligible families will receive invitations for the entry to school program, which will help prepare children who are starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time.

The entry to school program includes two main parts. The first part is a six-month, group-based, skill-building program, focused on helping children develop school-readiness skills in six areas:

  • Communication – such as, conversation, expressing wants and needs, understanding words and language, social communication, and non-verbal communication
  • Play – such as, toy exploration, and engaging in group play/games
  • Social interaction – such as, understanding of social boundaries, interactions with peers, and learning new behaviours by observing/imitating peers
  • Functional routines – such as, following classroom routines, and self-help skills such as dressing and toilet training
  • Behavioural self-management – such as, emotional regulation and being able to wait their turn
  • Pre-academics, learning and attention – such as, developing new learning skills, working within a group setting, and independent work

The group-based program is multi-disciplinary and delivered by staff with expertise in:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • applied behaviour analysis
  • speech-language pathology
  • occupational therapy
  • early childhood development

The group-based part of the program is intended to be delivered in person. Online/virtual delivery options may be considered if required due to the COVID‑19 pandemic or to address local needs and/or family preference.

After completing the group-based part of the program, children will start the second part of the program, which provides them with individual transition supports as they enter school. Families and educators will also be able to access consultation services from entry to school program staff, as needed, during a child’s first six months in school.

The program is offered free of charge and is available in English and French. Interpretation services for other languages will be available as needed.

Eligibility

To participate in the entry to school program, your child must be:

  • registered in the Ontario Autism Program
  • between three to six years old as of December 31 in the year they are starting school
  • starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time

If your child is eligible, we will send you an invitation.

Some children are not eligible for the entry to school program, including children:

Children who are in the entry to school program can receive other Ontario Autism Program supports (other than OAP core clinical services), special needs supports and/or early intervention programs at the same time. For example, your child can receive foundational family services at the same time as the entry to school program.

Register

We are sending invitations, mostly by email, to all eligible families. You need to receive an invitation before you can register for the program. We encourage you to add the Ontario Autism Program email address – OAP@ontario.ca – to your “safe senders” list to make sure you get the invitation.

We send invitations in November, December and January for programs that start in March.

The entry to school program usually starts in March each year to prepare children to start school in September. Based on availability, some providers may offer other program start dates. We will send you an invitation any time a program is available in your area.

Once you receive an invitation, you can contact the service provider listed in your invitation to ask questions about the program and to register. You must register with the service provider listed in your invitation.

Providers

The providers below are organized by the ministry’s five regional areas: central, east, north, Toronto and west. Many providers offer the program in partnership with other providers in their communities.

Central region

ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development

Partnered with: Community Living North Halton, Reach Out Centre for Kids, Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services, Dufferin Child & Family Services

Local areas served: Peel, Dufferin, Halton

More information:

York Simcoe Autism Network (YSAN)

Partnered with: Kinark Child and Family Services, Children’s Treatment Network, CLH Developmental Support Services, Empower Simcoe, Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Mackenzie Health

Local areas served: York, Simcoe

More information:

KidsAbility

Partnered with: KW Habilitation Services

Local areas served: Waterloo, Wellington

More information:

East region

ACT Learning Centre

Partnered with: ABC Pediatric Therapies, All About Communication, Aspire Academy, Big Words, Little People, CommuniCare Therapy, Connectwell Community Health, Make Way for Me!, On the Ball Physio & Occupational Therapy, One Care, SPARK Pediatric Services, Stride Academy

Local areas served: Stormont/Dundas/Glengarry, Prescott and Russell, Ottawa, Lanark/Leeds and Grenville, Renfrew, Frontenac/Lennox and Addington, Hastings/Prince Edward/Northumberland, Haliburton/Kawartha Lakes/Peterborough

More information:

Grandview Children’s Centre (Ontario Autism Partnership Durham Region)

Partnered with: Lakeridge Community Support Services, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth Durham, Regional Municipality of Durham

Local areas served: Durham

More information:

North region

Child & Community Resources (CCR)

Partnered with: NEO Kids Children’s Treatment Centre of Health Sciences North, Wordplay Jeux de mots Preschool Speech and Language Service, ABA Northern Services & Training Inc., City of Greater Sudbury – Children’s Services Division – Child Care and EarlyON Sites, Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board, Rainbow District School Board, Sudbury Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Nouvel-Ontario, Conseil scolaire de district du Grand Nord de l'Ontario and Mariani and Associates

Local areas served: Greater Sudbury, Manitoulin/Sudbury

More information:

Hands the Family Help Network

Partnered with: One Kids Place Children’s Treatment Centre (OKP), Bright Spot Therapy Services

Local areas served: Nipissing, Parry Sound, Muskoka, Timiskaming/Cochrane, James Bay Coast

More information:

Firefly

Partnered with: Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services (FFTAHS), Kenora Association for Community Living (KACL), Kenora Chiefs Advisory (KCA), Kenora Rainy River Districts Child & Family Services (KRRCFS), Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority (SLFNHA)

Local areas served: Kenora/Rainy River District, including Red Lake, Ear Falls, Sioux Lookout, Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden, Atikokan and far-north communities. Through a partnership with Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority (SLFNHA), Firefly will provide in-person (fly-in) service to children and families in far-north communities.

More information:

Thrive Child Development Centre

Partnered with: Algoma Public Health, Algoma Family Services, Kerry Maisels Behaviour Consulting Inc., Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services

Local areas served: Algoma

More information:

George Jeffrey Children’s Centre

Partnered with: Creative Therapy Associates, Ignite Behaviour Consulting

Local areas served: The District of Thunder Bay

More information:

Toronto region

Surrey Place (Toronto Autism Services Network)

Partnered with: Geneva Centre for Autism, Holland Bloorview, Kerry’s Place, Lumenus Community Services, South Asian Autism Awareness Centre, Strides Toronto

Local areas served: Toronto

More information:

West region

Hamilton Health Sciences

Partnered with: Bethesda Community Services Inc., Haldimand-Norfolk Resource Education and Counselling Help (H-N REACH), Lansdowne Children’s Centre, Niagara Children’s Centre, Six Nations Health Services

Local areas served: Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Brant, Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

More information:

Hamilton and area
Niagara and area
Haldimand-Norfolk and area
Brant and area
Six Nations of the Grand River and area

TVCC (formerly Thames Valley Children’s Centre)

Partnered with: smallTALK (Huron-Perth’s Preschool Speech and Language Initiative)

Local areas served: Grey, Bruce, Huron, Perth, Elgin, Oxford, and Middlesex counties

More information:

Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent

Partnered with: Pathways Health Centre for Children and John McGivney Children’s Centre

Local areas served: Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton, Windsor-Essex

More information:

Chatham-Kent and area
Sarnia-Lambton and area
Windsor-Essex and area

Contact us

If you have general questions about the entry to school program, you can contact AccessOAP:

If you have questions about invitations to register for the entry to school program, please contact our Central Resource Team: