Ontario Autism Program – Entry to School
Grandview Kids has partnered with Lake Ridge Community Support Services, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth – Durham Region, and The Regional Municipality of Durham to offer the Entry to School program as part of the Ontario Autism Program, Early Years Pathway. This partnership is known as the Ontario Autism Program – Durham (OAP-D).
About the program
The OAP Entry to School program is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services at no cost to parents. The program will help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder prepare to enter school (kindergarten or grade 1) for the first time.
The Entry to School Program has two components:
- The first six months focus on building your child’s school readiness skills (“Getting Ready for School”). This component will begin in late February 2024.
- The next six months focus on supporting your child’s transition to school. This component will begin in September 2025.
Children learn best when they are having fun. The Entry to School curriculum reflects the play and inquiry-based learning approach used by kindergartens in Ontario schools. Through engaging and child-led activities, our team will support your child’s development in six skill 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
Two service options are available to families in Durham Region:
When to expect an invitation email
Option 1 – Group-Based Service Model
Please review the Entry to School parent/caregiver handbook for more information about what to expect and your next steps after registering. Click here to access the Group-Based Service Model caregiver handbook.
Children attend a group-based, skill-building program for two hours and 45 minutes a day, five days a week, for up to six months. Children can enroll in either a morning program or an afternoon program. Each group has up to nine children, with a ratio of one staff to every three children. The group setting is intended to be similar to a kindergarten classroom. The environment is set up to help your child learn. The program is offered in several locations across the Durham Region. Spaces are limited, so caregivers are encouraged to complete our Online Referral as soon as they have received their invitation via their Access OAP portal. Caregivers will be contacted to discuss available options in the order that their referral is received
Locations (late February 2024 to late August 2025)
- Duffin’s Bay Public School, Ajax (2 classrooms in the morning and 2 classrooms in the afternoon)
- Glen Street Public School, Oshawa (2 classrooms in the morning and 2 classrooms in the afternoon)
- Grandview Kids Oshawa Main Site (1 classroom in the morning and 1 in the afternoon)
- St. Leo Catholic School, Brooklin (3 classrooms in the morning and 3 classrooms in the afternoon)
Here are some pictures of last year’s classrooms:
The program is led by staff with experience in applied behaviour analysis, early childhood development and supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In addition, a multi-disciplinary consultation team will regularly visit each classroom to support the classroom staff with program implementation.
Our multidisciplinary consultation team includes:
- Behaviour Consultants,
- Speech-Language Pathologists / Communicative Disorders Assistants,
- Occupational Therapists, and
- Transition Coordinators
Option 2 – Integrated Service Model
Please review the Entry to School parent/caregiver handbook for more information about what to expect and your next steps after registering.
Parents of children who are already enrolled full-time in a licenced child care program in the Durham Region may choose to remain in child care rather than attend the group-based program described in Option 1. The consultation team outlined above will regularly visit the childcare. They will provide consultation and coaching to your childcare team so that they can support your child’s development in the six skill areas listed above. Enrollment in this service option is a partnership between your family, your child’s childcare and the Entry to School team.
To participate in Option 2, your child must:
- Already be attending licensed childcare full-time (five days a week) in the Durham Region
- Continue to attend full-time licensed childcare throughout the six-month School Readiness period
Please note that for 2023 this option will be run as a pilot of up to 20 children. Enrollment is based on meeting the above eligibility criteria and on a first-come, first-served basis.
What are the differences between the service options?
|Group-based Service Model||Integrated Service Model|
|Half-day group program run by Entry to School staff in classrooms at various schools across the Durham Region||The program is a partnership with your licensed childcare in the Durham Region and occurs while your child attends|
|Coaching and consultation support from the consultation team occurs in the group-based program for group facilitators||Coaching and consultation support from the consultation team occurs in the childcare for educators|
|Each member of the consultation team visits the group weekly, and individual coaching and consultation support for your child are based on your child’s needs||The consultation team provides up to four hours per month of individual coaching and consultation supports based on your child’s needs|
Transition to School
Accessing the Entry to School Orientation
The Entry to School team is available to provide up to six months of support to your child’s school team after they start school.
Transition supports may include:
- Supporting your family in completing the paperwork required by the school
- Sharing a written summary of your child’s progress in the six skill areas addressed by the Entry to School program
- Sharing strategies/techniques that were effective in supporting your child’s participation during the School Readiness component of Entry to School
- Sharing other child-specific resources and learnings
- Attending school meetings
- Providing coaching and consultation to educator teams within your child’s classroom
Eligibility for the Entry to School Program
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, you will receive an invitation. Families must receive an invitation to register for the program.
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 or urgent response services at the same time as the Entry to School program.
Please click here to submit a referral and register.