The Ontario government is providing $7.5 million to help educators support students with Autism. The funding will be used to deliver online courses and training opportunities for teachers and educational assistants in all 72 of Ontario’s district school boards. The training program will be delivered by the Geneva Centre for Autism.
“This investment underscores our commitment to improving the learning experience for students with autism,” said Minister Lecce. “We recognize the difficulty this pandemic has imposed on parents. That is why we are enhancing this investment to further train our education staff to better support students on the autism spectrum and to foster a culture of respect, inclusion and opportunity in our schools.”
The training provided through the Geneva Centre for Autism will increase the understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) methods and approaches amongst educators. As students on the autism spectrum may have complex needs, this specialized training will help educators to support the educational, social, communication, and behavioural outcomes of those students. The training program will begin in 2021.
“The autism training program, allows educators to apply evidence-based techniques to classroom settings, helping students with autism to succeed in their academic year,” said Andrew Davis, Director – Sonderly, Geneva Centre for Autism.
In addition to online training, Ontario is investing in subsidies for educators to take the Autism-specific Additional Qualification course, and funding to build the capacity of school leaders to support students on the autism spectrum. In 2019-20, the Ontario government significantly increased investments to support students with ASD, with funding in 2020-21 directed towards increasing behaviour expertise and student supports in schools; funding to promote professional learning for educators; and funding to support after-school skills development programs.