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Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA)

Since the early 1960s, hundreds of behaviour analysts have used positive reinforcement and other principles to build communication, play, social, academic, self-care, work, and community living skills and to reduce problem behaviours in learners with autism of all ages.  Some ABA techniques involve instruction that is directed by adults in a highly structured fashion, while others make use of the learner's natural interests and follow his or her initiations.  Still others teach skills in the context of ongoing activities.  All skills are broken down into small steps or components, and learners are provided many repeat opportunities to learn and practice skills in a variety of settings, with abundant positive reinforcement.  The goals of intervention as well as the specific types of instructions and reinforcers used are customized to the strengths and needs of the individual learner.  Performance is measured continuously by direct observation, and intervention is modified if the data shows that the learner is not making satisfactory progress.

Regardless of the age of the learner with autism, the goal of ABA intervention is to enable him to function as independently and successfully as possible in a variety of environments.
(Information from Autism Speaks)


Ottawa Programs

New!  KickStart Intervention Program (Pilot Project, 2012)

A collaboration between Quickstart - Early Intervention for Autism and Emerging Minds.

We are plased to offer the KickStart Intervention Program to eligible families in the National Capital region.  The program is for children under 30 months of age who are demonstrating some symptoms of autism.  QuickStart has collaborated with Emerging Minds to deliver this unique service. 

To be eligible for this program, your child/family must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be demonstrating signs of Autism
  • Be under 30 months of age
  • At least one parent must be able to participate with their child during weekday working hours
  • Family must be able to commit to regular appointments, with no interruption, for 4-5 months in duration
  • Children are not receiving more than 10 hours per week of other autism-related interventions
  • Parents are able to commit to applying the treatment strategies that they have learned at a rate of at least 2 hours per day
  • Parents are able and willing to complete an intervention log of their practice sessions with the child

If you meet the above criteria and are interested in participating in this program, please contact Suzanne at QuickStart at 613.791.3757

Our thanks to our donors and key supporters, the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, Autism Speaks Canada, Unity for Autism!

New Ontario Government funded ABA program

Note:  This is not an intensive therapy program.

(MCYS) Ontario is expanding the range of supports available to children and youth with autism and their families. New, government funded ABA-based services will help children and youth with autism develop skills in the following areas:

      • Behaviour management/emotional regulation
      • Communication
      • Social /interpersonal
      • Daily living

ABA-based methods build skills and reinforce positive behaviour. These services can help children and youth with autism be more independent and manage better in school. Call 613.745.5963 to register your child.  All children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder are eligible for these services up to the age of 18.  Current wait-times for these group and individual services are over a year.  

Autism Intervention Program of Eastern Ontario (AIPEO) - Government Funded

(AIPEO) The Autism Intervention Program is funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to deliver Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) programming for children on the severe end of the autism spectrum. The program is administered and delivered by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in English and French in the Eastern region of Ontario. They are one of nine regional programs in Ontario.

For more information click here.  Phone:  613-745-5963

Current waiting times for this program are 2 to 2 1/2 years.  Important:  Children are placed on the waiting list as of the date of their referral to CHEO.  Once your child is diagnosed, please ensure the diagnosing doctor sends a referral right away to CHEO Autism Program.  Referrals only need state that the your child is diagnosed with an ASD and the report will follow to have your child placed on the wait-list (this will be for both IBI and ABA services).

Families can receive direct funding for this program if their child is eligible.  The wait-times are 2 to 2 1/2 years.

Private Ottawa Programs 

Please be aware that private therapy providers are not regulated in the Province of Ontario.  Make sure to ask about the background and qualifications of the person operating the business and about the qualifications that are required for their therapists.  Also, the therapy centre must have a psychologist overseeing the child's program.

No private service provider should pressure a parent into signing a contract, they should give you time to go away and decide.  You may want to take the contract you are being asked to sign to a lawyer before signing it.  It is best to check with several private service care providers before deciding which will be best for your child.

It is important that your child connects with his/her therapist(s) or their progress will be limited.

ABA Services Ottawa - Run by Anita Stapert who has 8 years of experience working with children with autism between the ages of 2 and 18. ABA services can implement an ABA/IBI program, assist in implementing goals, and also train your therapists and team. For more information call 613-218-7225. 

Communicare Therapy, 2270 St Laurant Blvd, Suite 202, Ottawa, Ontario.  We understand how hard it is when your child is diagnosed with a developmental disorder.  We have experts trained in a research-based approach that offers hope for the long term outcome of children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), global development delay, and other disorders attributed to relating and communicating.  email:  613-738-2871 

Connecting Early provides Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapy services to families in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.  Services are provided by Rachael Riethman, a certified ESDM trainer.  Rachael has experience working with children as young as 6 months old who may be showing early signs of autism.  Services are designed to meet the needs of your family and can be as little as an hour per week or as intensive as 20 hours per week.  Rachael can be contacted by phone, 613.805.0373, or by email

Emerging Minds - Our approach is formed by naturalistic behavioural, developmental, and social/relationship-based therapies.  We draw from a variety of evidence-based approaches and from a range of therapy disciplines (including psychology, speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, behaviour analysis, and education). This therapy is based in the child's natural environment.  Emerging Minds also offers the Early Start Denver Model Therapy (ABA based) for very young children.  

Fundamentals:  Child Behaviour Solutions - Our associates at Fundamentals aspire to improve the quality of life for children and their families. We offer psycho-educational and diagnostic assessment services, as well as behavioural intervention for children with a wide-range of exceptionalities. Our experienced mental health professionals collaborate with families and utilize evidence-based principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis to tailor individualized treatment solutions.

HOPE - Helping Our Parents Educate — a service dedicated to helping parents of children with autism.  Run by Catherine Cooke, training is offered to parents who wish to execute their own behavioural therapy programs, and programs are based around their needs, goals, and financial situations.

Portia Learning Centre — Our comprehensive early intervention program teaches the core elements of socialization, communication, play skill, academic skill and many other skills necessary to succeed in school and the community. Parent involvement is the cornerstone of our program and involves increasing interaction with your child as well as learning important techniques to maximize learning in the home and the community and ensure generalization.  Both home and center-based programs are offered.  Portia Learning Centre offers Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) and the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapy.

Spectrum Intervention Group's primary objective is to provide care and direct instruction, using ABA principles and procedures, to children with ASD, in order to increase their cognitive and social abilities in the home, school and community.  This is a center based therapy.

TIPES— Thinking in Pictures Educational Services is a non-profit educational and therapeutic service that provides support to children aged 2-18 years who have PDD (eg. Autism) and related or additional exceptionalities.  Located in South Kanata.

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