What services and supports are available for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that affects the way the brain works. While there is no need to cure autism, individual traits, abilities and experiences can improve over time with the help of certain supports, therapies and interventions.

Depending on the level of support needed, people with ASD and their families may be eligible for funding and support services for their whole life. Adults with ASD usually have fewer services available which makes early financial and program planning important if they need a certain level of support as they age.

Federal Supports

Tax Credits and Deductions - There are specific tax credits and deductions available for persons with disabilities, their supporting family members, and their caregivers. A medical practitioner will need to complete part of your application in order for you to qualify. In some situations, you may be eligible for a retroactive tax credit.

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) - The RDSP is for long-term savings planning to help those with disabilities and their families save for the future. It may be possible to combine it with the Canada Disability Savings Grant. The grant is a matching grant, which means that the Government also pays into your RDSP to help you save.

Provincial Supports

Ontario Autism Program (OAP) - The OAP offers support to all eligible families of children and youth on the autism spectrum. Children and youth who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by a qualified professional are eligible for the program. Children receive services and support until the age of 18.

Special Services at Home - This program provides funding to help with costs related to respite, personal growth and development for your child with physical and/or developmental disabilities.

Family Directed Respite (FDR) - This funding is a reimbursement program intended to assist families who are not currently connected to Ministry funded respite/camp programs, to develop and direct their own unique respite plans. There is a limited amount of funding per year to serve many families; this program is by lottery selection and only for Toronto residents.

Assistive Devices Program (ADP) - The ADP helps pay for customized equipment, like wheelchairs and hearing aids if you have a long-term physical disability. The ADP also helps cover the cost of specialized supplies, like those used with diabetes.

Other Provincial Programs - Every family has different needs and each child requires different levels of support throughout their childhood. This list includes links to various other family support and respite for children and youth with special needs.

Support Person Passes

The Disability Travel Card - This card is for anyone with a permanent disability that requires the assistance of a support person when travelling on VIA Rail Canada, Coach Canada, and Ontario Northland. When a cardholder presents the Disability Travel Card when purchasing a ticket for travel one support person can accompany them at a reduced fare.

Access 2 Card Program - This Easter Seals Canada program helps to ensure that entertainment, cultural and recreational opportunities are more available and accessible to all. This card allows your support person to accompany you for free or at a discounted fee.

Support Person Assistance Card - A support person accompanying a person with a disability is not required to pay a fare when travelling on the TTC. You do not have to live in Toronto to be eligible for this card.

Other Types of Assistance

You can read about the other types of financial assistance available if you or a family member have a disability in our Disability Services and Supports section of Settlement.Org.

For More Information

  • Autism Assessment and Diagnosis - Learn how to get your child assessed for autism and get a diagnosis from a qualified professional. Find a location where you can get an autism diagnostic assessment.
  • Contact Information for Autism Services - Find autism services in your area and get answers to your questions about ASD. From the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
  • OAP Service Navigation Program - Provides information about the Ontario Autism Program and helps connect families to service providers and resources available in their local communities.
  • Benefits Wayfinder - This bilingual one-stop portal lets you search for federal, provincial, and territorial benefits, as well as COVID-19 related resources. From Prosper Canada.
Last updated: July 25, 2022 4006510