Family Support

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.

General Family Support

Autism Ontario: Waterloo Region is a regional chapter of Autism Ontario, a non-profit organization comprised of parents and others who volunteer their time, talents, and energy to help improve the lives of children, teens and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in our community. Or contact Elizabeth Mitchell for Family Support.

Bartimaeus Child and Adolescent Family Support: Provides behaviour programming, parental support, respite services, as well as hospital and school support. The local Bartimaeus contact is Cheryl, who can let you know specifics about services, fees, etc.

ConnectABILITY is an online community hub including news, discussion forums, resources, and visuals engine. Recently expanded to include the Waterloo Region.

Developmental Services Resource Centre – Waterloo Region (DSRC) assists individuals with developmental disabilities and their caregivers in evaluating needs and connecting with community services and supports.

Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region works with families and the community to promote inclusion and serve people with special needs.  Services include: Special Services at Home, Family Home, Respite Program, W.A.L.E.S. Program, Summer Programs, Passport program, Autism Spectrum Connection Online, Best Buddies Program, Open Space Program, Training opportunities.

Front Door Mental Health Services: Access to child and youth mental health services.

Special Needs Access Point (SNAP) Program (Region of Waterloo): The Special Needs Resourcing Collaborative works together to support licensed child care programs in identifying and meeting the diverse needs of all children and their families.  All children, regardless of their abilities, are supported to safely participate in quality inclusive services.

Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN): Programs at WRFN include a variety of workshops and seminars, ongoing support groups and personal guidance to ensure families are aware of and appropriately connected to all available community resources. Our programs also include social and skill development groups.

Information and Tool Kits

100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of Young Children (by Autism Speaks) was created specifically for families of children ages 4 and under to make the best possible use of the 100 days following their child’s diagnosis of autism.

100 Day Kit for School Age Children (by Autism Speaks) is a tool designed to help assist families of children between the ages of 5 and 13 recently diagnosed with autism during the critical period following an autism diagnosis.

Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit (by Autism Speaks): A tool kit to assist families in getting the critical information they need in the first 100 days after an Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism diagnosis.

Autism Parent Resource Kit: The Autism Parent Resource Kit is an online resource to help parents, caregivers and families better understand autism and the range of services and support available in Ontario.

Autism Physician Handbook (Canadian Edition): The fully illustrated Physician Handbook, with over 100 illustrations showing the common characteristics of autism in toddlers, comes complete with the CHAT Checklist, a visual guide to behavioural symptoms, summary of potential referrals, and tips for optimizing office visits.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Information for Parents  in: English, French, Punjabi, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Italian, and Portuguese.

Challenging Behaviours Tool Kit: Autism Speaks has created this Challenging Behaviors Tool Kit to provide you with strategies and resources to address these behaviors, and to help support you and your loved one with autism during these difficult situations.

Growing up Together Booklet: This guide, developed by the Autism Society of America, is designed to teach children about autism. It provides answers to common questions that children may have about autism and about differences in how children with autism may act or interact with others. This guide also offers suggestions on how to be a friend to an individual with autism.

Family Support Kits: In an effort to ease the fears of and provide encouragement to all people with individuals with autism in their lives, Autism Speaks has created 4 support tool kits, each designed specifically for the following groups: Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, and Friends.

Transition Tool Kit: The Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit was created to serve as a guide to assist families on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.

Other Autism Speaks Tool Kits

Online Communities and Resources

Autism Spectrum Connection Waterloo and Wellington Region provides an online space for parents who have a child with autism to share their experiences, connect with and support one another. This online community enables parents to tell their stories, contribute information, resources and engage in conversation with other families affected by autism.

Ability Online Support Network is a vibrant online community for youth and young adults of all abilities (Parents and Professionals welcome too – this is a great resource). Membership is free and the online experience is safe, secure & monitored. Learning modules are designed to help our members develop self-esteem, confidence & increased independence. Amazing role models and mentors inspire our members to be the best that they can be!

Support Groups

Autism Ontario: Support group for adults with ASD, and for parents of adult children with ASD; second Tuesday of the month, more information on the Autism Spectrum Connection Calendar.

The Developmental Services Resource Centre (DSRC) provides support through a mom’s group and a dad’s group, in addition to individual counselling for parents and for adults with a developmental disability.

Mother’s Addressing Autism Together (through KidsAbility) support group, Waterloo and Cambridge locations. Contact Caroline 519-886-8886 ext. 1205.