Ontario Autism Program – ADVISORY COMMITTEE – Members


Committee Membership List

(August 10, 2016)

Annie Appleby: System Superintendent, Toronto District School Board

Bruce McIntosh: President, Ontario Autism Coalition

Dr. Carobeth Zorzos: Clinical Psychologist, Board Certified Behavioural Analyst; Director of Autism

Debra Kennedy: Chief of Physical and Occupational Therapy, York Region District School Board

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou :Senior Clinician Scientist, Autism, Holland Bloorview

Gail Geller” Parent

Jan Kasperski: Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Psychological Association

Jennifer Churchill: Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation

Margaret Spoelstra: Executive Director, Autism Ontario

Rino Strazerri: Parent

Dr. Sheila Laredo: Endocrinologist, Women’s College Hospital & Parent

Sherry Fournier: Executive Director, Child and Community Resources

Susan Honeyman: Speech-Language Pathologist & Chair, ASD Clinical Expert Committee

Sylvie Grenier: Board Certified Behavioural Analyst & ABA Consultant, Conseil Scolaire Public

Dr. Umberto Cellupica: Pediatrician, Maple Kidz Clinic Medical Director, Pivotal Minds ASD and Behavioural Sciences, Dalton Associates Services du Grand Nord de l’Ontario Treatment Centre


AAOAP & OAC Members meet with BACB Legal Department

Hello everyone,

We wanted to give you a brief update of our meeting today. Anne Jovanovic, James Porter and myself (Sharon Gabison) brought our concerns forward today to the BACB Legal Department regarding reported alleged unethical practices by BCBAs practicing in the field. We gave them examples of issues that parents have reported to us. We reviewed the history of IBI service delivery in this province. We explained the differences between DFO and DSO. They confirmed to us what we already knew. No BCBA, BCaBA or BCBA-D are immune to the codes and can be sanctioned for unethical practices. The guidelines for practice can be found here:


They have asked us to start with two things: 1) Bring forward the cases in which violations have occurred, 2) Bring forward “patterns” of alleged unethical practices. This means, that any BCBA that has engaged in any of the following practices can be investigated: terminating services without proper transition plans, using non-validated assessment tools (such as the Clinical Decision Making Guidelines, NASA Assessments, eligibility screens) that are used to determine if a child is eligible to receive/stay in services, claiming that IBI will be harmful to the child (Including that IBI will increase challenging behaviours), and abandoning clients. If you have gone through the IRM process, please get in touch with us.

It is EXTREMELY important that you obtain your child’s clinical notes and records. We need to bring forward documentation to support these alleged claims. If any parent is willing to share the DFO review packages and the NASA (especially if your child was deemed not suitable for IBI) please forward to us. This information will be kept in strict confidence. Will we work closely with you and the BACB Legal Department.

We are bringing these concerns forward, so that the practice of ABA in this province is delivered ethically, and appropriately no matter what setting the BCBA works in. We do not want these alleged unethical practices to continue and impact children currently in services and those children who will be receiving services in the future.

To recap from this week’s earlier announcement:

2) On Wednesday August 17, 2016 we will be meeting with the Registrar and Deputy Registrar of the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO). Psychologists practicing in this practice have the obligation to follow standards of practice. If you are interested, the standards can be found here: “Standards of Professional Conduct”


All psychologists, no matter where their practice setting is, including those signing off on documents, must adhere to these standards or they can be reported.

If you have any concerns and would like them to be brought up during our meetings, please feel free to contact me. If you need to discuss a specific situation, please feel free to email me.

We will be to forwarding concerns to the BACB/CPO from the 83 families that have forwarded their name to me via the survey (Challenges with the Autism Intervention Program) we issued earlier this month. 122 parents have completed the survey so far and 83 parents have agreed to have their names forwarded to the minister or BACB.

If you have not completed the survey, it is still not too late. The survey can be found here:


If you have received your child’s clinical notes and records and would like to scan and send me anything that can be forwarded to the BACB or College of Psychologists of Ontario as proof, please send me a private message. If you have not requested the clinical notes and records, you can still do so by downloading the file attached to this message, printing it up and sending it to the regional program. We are strongly encouraging you to retrieve your child’s clinical notes and records so anything can be substantiated.


Finally, if you have not signed the petition to have Dr. Porter added to the Implementation Advisory Committee, please do so by following this link:


Be well,


Petition to add Dr. James Porter to the OAP Implementation Committee

The Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) has launched a petition to have registered Clininal Psychologist & BCBA, Dr. James Porter, take a seat on the Ministry’s new Implementation/Advisory Committee for the Ontario Autism Program. Dr. Porter is a well-known and trusted voice in the autism community, and an ideal representative for our children.

Please take a moment to read and sign the petition, found here:


UPDATE – Operation Accountability

From our friend Sharon Gabison of the OAC

Hello everyone – some very important announcements:

*****Operation Accountability*********
We are still in the throws of “Operation Accountability”. We want to ensure that the NEW Autism program is free of conflict of interest, is fair, equitable and fiscally responsible. We need to bring stories forward to the Ministry. We will also be meeting with the newly appointed Patient Ombudsman to bring past and present concerns forward. This is where we need YOUR HELP.

We are collecting evidence of the programs’ wrongdoings.

We need you to do TWO things.
1. Complete this survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T7VGW6T
2. Get in touch with me. If you have had in the past/or are continuing to experience challenges with the AIP, please get in touch with me via private messaging. These issues can include but are not limited to:
– Child not meeting “eligibility” criteria (past of present) for the IBI/ABA program when they should have been deemed eligible
– Child being discharged from the IBI/ABA program when they should not have been discharged
– Lack of proper clinical oversight of your child’s program (no regulated health professional or Board Certified Behaviour Analyst overseeing your child’s program
– Multiple “eligibility” and/or “suitability” assessments
– Not having the choice between DFO or DSO, or not being told about DFO
– Unsuccessful outcome of an Independent Review

It is very important that these stories are brought to light.

If you have not already requested your child’s clinical notes and records, please use this document appended to this message.

Thank you!

UPDATE – Changes to the new Ontario Autism Program

Today the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Michael Coteau, announced enormous changes to the roll out of the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP).

Over the past 3 months, parents and professionals have fought endlessly, urging the Government to reverse it’s previous decision to eliminate eligibility of Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) for children aged 5 and older and pushing for the government to implement a direct service model, that would provide children, regardless of age, the ability to access the services they have been recommended, in a timely manner. The government claims to be listening.

Today’s announcement started with the injection of an additional 200 million dollars in to the implementation of the new Ontario Autism Program. The Minister made clear, and reiterated many times, that the most important part of the changes would be the implementation of the OAP one year sooner, in 2017, as opposed to 2018 as announced this past March. Minister Coteau announced that the age cap for intensive therapy (Intensive Behavioral Intervention/IBI) is lifted, and that starting immediately, every child with autism, regardless of age, can have access to the intensity of services that they need, and there will be no gaps or reductions in service during the transition to the OAP, where ABA and IBI will amalgamate into one stream of service with varying levels of intensity to suit each child’s needs. Children who were previously removed from the IBI wait list and offered the one-time $8,000 payment, will in addition have the option to receive successive payments of $10,000 to obtain services for their child, or receive immediate, continuous ABA services from their regional provider, until their spot becomes available in the new OAP in June 2017. Children who were previously being transitioned out of IBI can now remain in services until they receive a spot in the new OAP. Additional work will be done to boost school supports and services and to aid in assisting families in their transition to the OAP. View the full video announcement hereOr, read the newsroom announcements here and here.

Though it seems like a positive step in the right direction, and will help the many families who had just faced the possibility of losing the services they were promised, we must not forget that thousands of families are still not receiving the help that they need, and will continue to languish on the wait lists while the government figures things out. On that note, at least the commitment has been made to have things figured out one year sooner…  Stay Positive, while we keep fighting!


Sharing from our friend Sharon Gabison of the OAC.

Hello group,

The OAC and the AAOAP are pleased to present the next stage of advocacy. 

We are now into “Operation Accountability” where we are going to hold all regional providers accountable to the questionable decisions they have made towards determining if children have been deemed eligible to receive IBI services, if children have received sufficient IBI services and if children have been discharged from IBI services in an ethical manner. 

We have received numerous complaints about regional providers who have demonstrated questionable unethical behavior towards the management of their child’s IBI services or access to IBI services in the Autism Intervention Program. We are conducting a review of these claims, so that they can be objectively substantiated. 

If you feel your child’s access to IBI services has been compromised, we are asking you to request your child’s clinical notes and records for review. Please see the attached file to this message that will provide you with all the necessary documents you require to make this request. We are asking all parents to please request your child’s clinical notes and records NEXT WEEK (June 20-24, 2016). It is important that we make these requests in a coordinated manner so that we make a strong statement that we are all united in this next stage. 

Once you have received your child’s records, we will be moving to the second stage and will be reviewing files with you. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


☆ UPDATE – Welcoming the new Minister

Hi, peeps.  The Alliance/OAC team met with the new Minister Coteau this morning (James Porter and I – Anne J – were on the teleconference line and Sharon Gabison, Laura Kirby-McIntosh and Bruce McIntosh were there in person).  I have to say, it was a very positive exchange.  What was really refreshing was that pretty much every question he asked – and he had a LOT of questions – showed that he “got” the systemic issues we have been raising and was questioning things along similar lines.  So,…ummm…Hallelujah! 😉  One thing that came through loud and clear is that he wants to act and he wants to get the ball rolling. We didn’t get any answer on why it is that regionals are proceeding along different lines about both the kids in service and kids who were cut from the list (i.e. kids who were not yet considered “in service”).  We did point out that the gap between what MPPs *think* is happening (based on the directions being sent to the service providers) and what *is* happening doesn’t seem to be closing in the way they may think.  The OAC and others in the Alliance too are following up to see if we can confirm precisely *what* the MCYS directive is so that we can share *that* info with you all and start pushing back on “interpretations” that don’t align with what they were asked to do.  All to say…the conversation was a first in what we hope to be many and it’s only his 2nd day.  But, my spidey sense says that we have someone who “gets” what we’re all on about and, more importantly, who looks like he’s geared up to try and fix a few things.  I took it as a particularly good sign that he bailed on us after just over an hour because his kid was waiting for him and he had promised lunch.  A good father is *exactly* what we’re looking for on this file.

– Anne Jovanovic