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About TPAS

The Toronto Partnership for Autism Services (TPAS) is a community-based service that helps children with autism, and their families, through Intensive Behavioural Intervention or IBI.  IBI is a scientifically proven intervention with the goal of increasing the rate of learning for children with autism.  When IBI is effective children show substantial improvement in language, cognitive ability, and adaptive behaviour.  Children have different outcomes, with research suggesting 40% to 50% of young children may make substantial progress over a 1 to 2 year period.

TPAS services are provided by five agencies working in partnership in your local community. Partner agencies include:
  • Surrey Place Centre (lead agency for the Toronto region)
  • Adventure Place
  • Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre
  • The Etobicoke Children's Centre
  • Geneva Centre for Autism

Please click here to view the Toronto Partnership for Autism Services Information Card

Applying for Services from TPAS

If you live in Toronto and your child has a confirmed diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder toward the severe end of the spectrum, you may apply for services by calling Surrey Place Centre and asking to speak to the TPAS Registration Assistant [416-925-5141, extension 2289]. Only children determined to be eligible based on a TPAS eligibility screening are able to receive TPAS intervention.

With a confirmed diagnosis, your child will be registered with TPAS. Information about your family and child will be shared with those who are going to be working with you. This will include Surrey Place Centre, your local community agency, and, where appropriate, Toronto Preschool Speech and Language Services.

Determining Eligibility and Service Needs

Once a written copy of the diagnosis and proof of Toronto residency has been received, TPAS will contact you to arrange a screening to determine eligibility for Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI).

A TPAS psychologist will screen your child to determine if he or she is on the severe end of the spectrum and if IBI is a suitable intervention for your child.

If your child is eligible and IBI is suitable, you will receive an orientation to TPAS and begin attending Parent Education and Support Services.  You will continue working with your Intake Service Coordinator to develop a plan for service, which may include accessing other resources in your community.  Your child will be placed on a waitlist until a vacancy occurs.

Service Options

Services from TPAS are funded by the Government of Ontario and are offered at no cost through the five TPAS agencies. You have two options for choosing Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) if  your child is deemed eligible:
  • IBI services from TPAS: Your child can receive IBI services from trained staff through one of the five TPAS agencies, which is called the Direct Service Option (DSO).
  • IBI services from a private provider: You can choose a private provider for IBI services, through the Direct Funding Option (DFO). You receive funding directly from Surrey Place Centre to assist with the costs of IBI provided under the supervision of a registered psychologist with demonstrated expertise in IBI for children with autism.

TPAS Services Offered

Parent Education and Support Services: TPAS provides families with information, education, and training to learn new skills that support the child and family.  These supports may include connecting the family to resources and services in the community, and providing group and individualized parent training.

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI): Children receive Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI), a scientifically proven intensive treatment with the goal of increasing the rate of learning for children with autism.  When IBI is effective, children show substantial improvement in language, cognitive ability, and adaptive behaviour.

Transition Services: Transition services help to connect families to resources and services in their community and assist children who are in treatment to move into community programs and school

Parent Education and Support Services

Service begins at TPAS with Parent Education and Support.  Parents’ involvement in a child’s learning is related with higher achievement as well as being of benefit for the entire family.  Studies have shown that, with training, parents can learn to use the intervention techniques very effectively. When parents use these techniques, their children are more likely to apply their learning to new situations and to remember and use what they learn over time.

TPAS Parent Education and Support Services were designed to assist parents to build a foundation of knowledge to support child development and to link them with resources in their community.

The objectives are to assist families to:

  1. Set attainable goals for their child and family
  2. Increase confidence in their ability to use behavioural strategies to promote future skill acquisition with their child
  3. Create ongoing opportunities to promote generalization and maintenance of skills
  4. Increase proficiency in identifying and accessing relevant community resources

The Parent Education and Support Pathway is comprised of 4 phases:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Preparing for IBI
  3. Partnering for Success in IBI
  4. Preparing for School and Beyond

During each phase, parents will access a range of workshops, parent support groups, and individual coaching and consultation.

During Intensive Behavioural Intervention

TPAS offers specialized learning opportunities to parents with children in IBI so they can help their children reach goals and live life to their fullest potential.

Opportunities include:

  • Access to resource materials such as books, articles, videos and DVDs
  • Regular treatment observations
  • Small group parent training sessions
  • Individual and small group coaching
  • Workshops and conferences

Intensive Behavioural Intervention

The Toronto Partnership for Autism Services uses the scientifically proven Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI). IBI is an intensive treatment, provided for a minimum of 20 hours per week and delivered through both one-to-one and small group instruction. It requires frequent, direct measurement of the child's performance and progress with regular updates to the child's customized program.

IBI was developed for young children with autism spectrum disorders, based on the scientific principles of the broader field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA is the science of designing, implementing, and evaluating environmental modifications to produce meaningful changes in behaviour. ABA can be considered as an overall category, which can be applied to many different groups and ages, with IBI being one model of intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders.

IBI is comprehensive in scope, targeting a broad range of developmental areas. It is developmental in sequence, focusing on skills in the order they would tend to appear in typically developing children. IBI is designed to improve key learning skills in the areas of cognitive, language, and social development. In order to do so it is imperative that intervention be provided intensively during children’s best learning periods, typically during a regular daytime schedule.

The goal of Intensive Behavioural Intervention is to increase the developmental trajectory, or rate of learning, for children with autism. Treatment research suggests that up to 40% to 50% of young children may make substantial progress, typically over a 1 to 2 year period. When this goal is achieved, children show clinically significant improvement in cognitive, language, and adaptive functioning, which can be demonstrated at regular intervals throughout their intervention. Children have different outcomes with IBI. While some children make very good progress, others make slow to minimal progress.

Transition Services

TPAS provides supports to the child and family that help to make the transition from IBI to new environments as smooth as possible.

Your Family Support Coach will assist with appropriate referrals as your child transitions out of IBI and in to full time school, including a referral to Connections for Students.

Connections for Students

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services have developed Connections for Students, a collaborative approach to improving transitions for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Approximately 6 months before a child prepares to transition from Intensive Behavioural Intervention, a child specific, school based transition team will be established. Members will include the school principal, parents, teachers, School Support Program (SSP) ASD consultants, and school board staff with applied behaviour analysis (ABA) expertise and other team members as required. Teams will develop plans that are tailored to the specific needs of the student. For more information see School Support Program.