Below are our top 5 Frequently Asked Questions. If you do not see your question here, give us a call! We would love to sit down with you and answer any questions you have and see if Portia is a good fit!

What do we do? Newly diagnosed children - Ottawa Game Plan

Option 1. Seek IBI Service Provider
Option 2. IBI therapy is expensive; however, you can seek training and work with your child one on one; implementing programs designed by professionals. Please contact us for more information.

>  If you have insurance coverage investigate your plans’ Psychological, Speech and Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist coverage and limits

>  Call OCTC Intake and register for free services through the QuickStart Program 613-737-0871 ext 4425

> Call Service Coordination Intake and set up an appointment to discuss how they can help you navigate the system. (i.e. funding options, service providers, respite, etc.) www.scsottawa.on.ca
Service Coordination : Funded by Ministry of Community and Social Services. Provide case management, information about services and supports, and access to referrals. “Worker bank” to help families funded by SSAH (Special Services at Home) or ACSD (Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities) locate special needs workers. They can help with respite and group home placement.

>  Call AIPEO (Autism Intervention Program of Eastern Ontario) and ensure your child is on the wait list for Ontario Government Funding (there are two lists, Direct Service Option and Direct Funding Option, ensure your child is on both)
Autism Intervention Program
1661 Montreal Road Ottawa ON K1J 9B7
> Investigate workshops (http://ottawaautismconnection.com/ is an excellent resource)
>  Join Parent Support Groups
> Call Autism Ontario – Ottawa Chapter, Realize Community Potential for a group in your area 613-230-6305, typically groups meet monthly
> There is an email support group: Autism Support Ottawa Yahoo Group
Subscribe by email: autismsupportOttawa-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

>  Autism Ontario is a great resource and has a lending library
Ottawa Chapter
211 Bronson Avenue Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6H5

>  Set up an appointment with your accountant to discuss Medical and Disability Expenses.
If you do not presently have an accountant you may consider contacting:
•  James Kurtz , CGA, CFP 613-277-8297
If your child has yet to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and yet you are concerned with his / her development, in Ottawa you can:
* Contact First Words at the Ontario Early Years Drop – in Centres (First Words offers free clinics and no appointment is required)
* Contact QuickStart
* Contact OCTC (Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre) 1-800-565-4839
* Speak to your child’s Paediatrician
* Contact a psychologist for a formal diagnosis

> Contact Alisha Refunds. Specializing in health related tax credit. http://alisarefunds.ca

Who Can Benefit from ABA?

ABA methods have been used successfully with many kinds of learners of all ages, with and without disabilities, in many different settings. In the early 1960s, behaviour analysts began working with young children with autism and related disorders. Those pioneers used techniques in which adults directed most of the instruction, as well as some in which children took the lead. Since that time, a wide variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with autism of all ages. Those techniques are used in both structured situations (such as formal instruction in classrooms) and in more “natural” everyday situations (such as during play or mealtime at home), and in one-to-one as well as group instruction. They are used to develop basic skills like looking, listening, and imitating, as well as complex skills like reading, conversing, and taking the perspective of others.
The use of ABA principles and techniques to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives has expanded rapidly in recent years. Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed by a number of worldwide agencies, including, but not limited to a number of Canadian Provincial Governments, U.S. state and federal agencies, the U. S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health.

How do we incorporating SLP (Speech and Language Pathologists) and OT (Occupational Therapist) Goals?

We can implement a variety of goals suggested by SLP and OT into our regular intervention process.
Children with autism are most successful when learning is conducted in a highly structured intensive manner with access to reinforcement. Goals can be implemented at ease by the instructor therapist on a day to day basis.
Examples of SLP goals include but are not limited to: articulation targets, syntax and grammar, oral motor and conversation skills
Examples of OT goals include but are not limited to: fine and gross motor production, (i.e. printing, cutting, throwing a ball)
What is ABA based on Skinner’s Anaysis of verbal behaviour?

In 1957, Skinner published a book called ‘Verbal Behaviour,’ which has recently begun to have an incredible impact on the field of ABA. This book represents a completely behavioural treatment of human language. Skinner defines verbal behaviour as behaviour that achieves its effect on the world throug the mediation of someone else’s behaviour. This means that reinforcement of verbal behaviour is indirect, as oppose to reinforcement of non-verbal behaviour. Skinner also identified several verbal units (mand, echoic, textual, intraverbal, and tact). Today, many prominent Behaviourists, including, Jack Michael, Mark Sundberg, Jim Partington, and Vince Carbone, have conducted and published research on verbal behaviour. This research can be found in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior journal. This body of research serves as the basic and applied foundation of teaching ‘verbal behaviour.’
Source: Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis by Jack L. Michael

A comprehensive, state-of-the-art, ABA program for individuals with autism means that:
All teaching objectives are observable and measurable to ensure that behaviour change is occurring; that is, that children are actually learning skills and displaying more appropriate behaviour.

Skills and treatment objectives are broken down into small components or teaching steps to facilitate behaviour
The impact of the environment, the way in which we teach, is continuously assessed to determine its influence on a child’s behaviour and acquisition of new skills.

While there is a basic framework outlining the treatment / teaching interactions, all facets of the program such as the selection of target objectives, the way instructions are delivered, the rewards or methods of encouragement given, and the type of assistance or prompting provided to correct errors are individualized to the needs and learning style to each individual child
Generalization of skills to more natural settings, with relevant caregivers is an explicit part of the program.

Centre vs Home Based Programming

There are many advantages of having therapy at a centre vs. at home. Children experience the opportunity for increased social opportunities and group learning skills, which are essential for school readiness. Centre based programs experience a higher intensity of supervision, as senior therapists and clinical supervisors are on site. Having said this each families’ situation is unique, chose what is best for the health of your family unit.

A significant correlation was noted between intensity of supervision and change in IQ score as per the following research article: Intensity of supervision and outcome for preschool aged children receiving early and intensive behavioral interventions: A preliminary study
Svein Eikeseth a, b, * , Diane Hayward b, Catherine Gale b, Jens-Petter Gitlesen c, Sigmund Eldevik a
This study asked whether intensity of supervision is associated with outcome in preschool aged children with autism who received early and intensive behavioral intervention. Intensity of supervision ranged from 2.9 to 7.8 h per month per child. A significant correlation was noted between intensity of supervision and change in IQ scores between intake and follow-up. Thus, intensity of supervision was reliably associated with amount of IQ score change between intake and follow-up. Moreover, the estimated linear regression line suggests, on average, that participants made a gain of 0.21 IQ points for each hour of supervision they received….. a relative low intensity in supervision may produce little or no benefit; a certain level of intensity may yield optimal effect, while increasing supervision beyond this point may add little benefit above the optimal level. Moreover, what constitutes the optimal level may vary from child to child, and depend on child characteristics, parental involvement, and the competency of the tutors.

What is the difference of a centre - run vs. a parent - run program?

Smith, Buch & Gamby (2000), found that children’s outcomes appeared less favorable in parent run programs than those previously reported for professionally run programs (e.g. Lovaas, 1987). For children in the present study, this treatment yielded rapid skill acquisition at treatment onset, with high parent satisfaction. However, these benefits often did not lead to long-term developmental gains, as evidenced by increase in IQ and other test scores. The relatively low treatment quality that was observed may be on factor underlying this finding. Therapists may have achieved enough proficiency to teach children basic skills such as imitation, but not more advanced skills such as conversation and peer play. Similarly, they may have been able to promote skill acquisition, but not generalization and maintenance.

Parents who run their own program (hire Instructor Therapists and Senior Therapists privately) experience the same problems; high therapist turnover, therefore waste time and money training new therapists. Also the program is normally not as highly supervised as it should be.

Bibby, Eikeseth, Martin, Mudford, Reeves (2002) state that ‘Overall, research to date suggests that although parent-managed programs may bring about gains in language, adaptive, and intellectual functioning, they may not be as large as in centre based programs, the latter reporting 20 IQ point increases (Harris & Handleman, 2000; Harris et al., 1991; Lovaas, 1989; McEachin et al., 1993) and up to 47% normal functioning (Lovaas, 1987).

Parents who have run their own program and then come to Portia have seen the difference in quality of program and therefore improvement in their child immediately. They are more relaxed, satisfied and enjoy the ability of having someone care for their child at a centre.