Proloquo2go AAC (augmentative and alternative communication)

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Happy, Resources and funding

We got this right before Christmas 2019 and been using it daily. It is a good tool for communication when your kiddos are non-verbal. It ease a bit of frustration for simple request such as water or food. I’ve done a bit of research before deciding on which program to use. I’ve tried LAMP, TouchChat and I forgot the other one. Out of all those I was either going with TouchChat or Prologuo2go. We ended up deciding to go with Prologuo2go because the edit function seems a tad more suitable for us. We choose the 32 layout per page for now and using Josh as the voice. There is a program called called ADP (Assistive Devices Program) with the government of Ontario. You can read more about it here. You have to get a referral and we got ours from our SLP. In Ontario, Toronto there are two sources you can go through. Either Surrey Place or Holland Bloorview. From my understanding, Holland is much quicker but also very strict. If you have been classified as developmental delay then you have no choice but to go down the Surrey Place route. It is really the same device that you will get but very different path to get there. Can’t speak for Surrey Place since we got ours through Holland but it was a very frustrating process. They wanted him to do more than request and have meaningful communication before granting him one. How are we supposed to teach him meaningful […]

My struggles to pick up all three kids after school

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Struggles, The others

For the most part, we split the pickups/drop offs because it just gets too hard dealing with all three. When J is happy it is fine picking them up together and I’ve done it before. This week we had an ice storm and J’s school warned me they might close at noon. Wish they told me earlier because by time I dropped him it was 9:45am. The hubby asked why I didn’t tell them umm… we got work, how can we just drop everything and pickup. I agree with him but also see it from the worker’s point of view. I let it slide as it wasn’t a for sure thing. By time I settled into working, I get an email from daughter’s daycare saying they have to close at 4pm. I was like that’s just great. J had speech till 3:50pm and it will be cutting it real close for pickup at 4pm. I started arranging for hubby to leave work early but after a few minutes of arranging, I was like naw just going to tell daycare I can’t pickup by 4 and will be 5-10 mins after 4. Guess they had no choice but to agree. 3:50 rolled around and with traffic of course I’m late. Rushed to daughter’s daycare and felt terrible for making one girl stay behind. As I was dressing daughter, J runs off. I’m clearly frazzled as the daycare girl helps me hold J’s hand so he does’t wander off to the rooms. […]

Family Directed Respite (FDR) funding

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

All the information below can be found by going to Family Directed Respite (FDR) 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.   Family Directed Respite funding is administered by on behalf of the Toronto Respite Network. Note: Applications will be posted  each year in mid-January and applications will be accepted until mid-February.  The 2019-2020 application will be posted on January 14th by noon! ELIGIBILITY: Child must be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Child is eligible from the age of 2 until their 18th birthday. Child must reside with a caregiver and be a permanent resident of Toronto. Family required to have made an application to Special Services at Home (waitlist families are eligible). Families accessing Ministry funded respite/camp programs may not be eligible. If you have questions about the programs you are currently accessing please contact them directly to inquire about funding received. FDR eligible expenses:   FDR ineligible expenses: Camp fees to a limit of $750/week     Meal, busing, t-shirt, or other costs associated with program/camp Lessons or classes of any kind/ 1:1 support in the class Respite program fees to a limit of $150/day.   Sport/recreation fees Assistive devices or equipment   Daycare fees 1:1 staffing in home or community Staffing support (in a camp or respite program only) to a limit of $20/hour. Workers must be 18+ and live outside the  family home.   Activity Costs (e.g. field trip fees, memberships, etc.) Tutoring, therapy or therapeutic rec programs (e.g. ABA, IBI, SLP, OT, PT)   Transportation Administrative or registration fees Important information: • The 2019-2020 application will be […]

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announces plan to clear Ontario Autism Program waitlists

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

What does that even mean? Frustrating when your regional provider doesn’t seem to understand that this new program doesn’t kick in till April 2019 which means everything remains the same as is until that day. So if you happen to be on top of the waitlist and get service you can do that for up to 3 months before the children’s budget plan kicks in. For us, we are still waiting anyways and likely not on top of anything so it is status quo. I do fully understand that finding out where we stand is not really relevant if we are not on top of the waitlist but I’ve been given this information previously so why can’t I find out today where we stand. Surrey Place refused to provide me with the information and directed me to the 1-888-284-8340 line. That line didn’t have any information on where I stand. After I explained my situation, she gave me a direct line to Mona Haibeh. Mona mans the general inquiries from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and you can reach her at 416-327-6790. She was helpful and will be contacting Surrey Place regarding my waitlist confirmation. Funny how I have to jump hoops just to get information. I think I’ve learned that sometimes that’s what you have to do. If someone says no, you have to take charge and contact people above that person. You have to be strong and not take no for an answer. Your regional/service […]

Where to you go every 6 months?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Struggles

Yup you guessed it right, the dentist. The last dentist visit was quite a shock for me as everyone in the room was sweating. J was sweating from fighting his way out, hubby was sweating trying to hold J down, I was sweating holding baby girl on one hand and fanning the other down with the other hand. There was not only sweat but also blood. This time around, I was nervous for days before even going in. I know right, I’m not the one holding him down or the one doing the cleaning but just standing by making sure he is somewhat okay. To my surprise, he did amazing. Maybe 6 months older made all the difference. Or maybe he remembers the drill and realize if he fights too hard it will hurt more? Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a walk in the park but my anticipation of full on fight wasn’t there so anything less was manageable. The hygienist said his teeth is very clean and I give full credit to the husband. All in all, cleaning and polishing took a whooping 15 minutes followed by a less than 5 minute check by dentist. All of that ended costing me 170 bucks. How on earth is 20 minutes of work 170 dollars? When you slap on children to dentist it is considered a speciality and anything with speciality get’s a hefty fee. I do get why they charge more considering my child wanted to bite the girl’s […]

Everyone has a journey of their own

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Events

Today is #bellletstalkday and I would like to dedicate this to my childhood friend who lost her hubby recently. My journey led me to take life one day at a time and think my friend might be on the same page right now or possibly one hour at a time or even one minute at a time. I will not claim I understand the pain and suffering she’s going through because nobody can say that. I know the pain I feel for her is just the tip of the iceberg of her actual pain. I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. Her journey right now is likely very scary, hard and alone. The one thing I want to remind her is you have many friends and family who love and care for you a lot. From a mom to another, when strong is the only choice you have, you become strong. I know right now being strong is not on her priority list so take the time but you will become strong. I hope she will reach out and talk when she is ready. Let’s raise some awareness and acceptance for mental health because mental health is a real thing and it affects many people we love. It takes a village to raise a child and small changes can really make a big impact. While I’m on my autism journey with J, other’s are on a journey of their own. I am forever grateful of my support system I have.

Hanen Program More Than Words

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

As I mentioned in my previous blog, we started a Hanen Program called More Than Words through Adventure place, the City of Toronto’s speech services. It has been great and but a bit repetitive for me since I just finished the DVD. The book and DVD is available through Hanen’s website or even online on Amazon. It is also available at your local public library which is where I got mine. It teaches you ways to communicate with your child and you watch videos of other families as real life examples. They only allow up to 8 families per program and I’ve been wanting to take this program for a while. There was a cancellation last minute after the orientation session and we got lucky and filled in as replacement. For those who want to learn more about the program you can head over to Hanen’s website and read more on this More Than Words Program. For those who are on the Toronto Speech Services, this counts as a block of intervention so if you take this you will have to wait for the next block of service. For us, since he is going to preschool we don’t qualify for service anymore anyways as they say this is a duplication of services from what the school offers. This is actually perfect timing for us to be taking this program. I’m including the link to the orientation session for those who want to see if this program is for them. Although a […]

Holiday party by Jake’s House: Free Event on Nov 25, 2018 from 12:00 PM-3:00 PM

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Events

You & your family are invited to the 14th annual Jake’s House Holiday Party! Date: Sun, Nov 25, 2018 from 12:00 PM-3:00 PM This year, you can enjoy fun activities, such as an interactive gaming zone by Microsoft, an arts & crafts station, bouncy castles and a photo booth; and dig into a lunch buffet and made-to-order treats, like popcorn, snow cones and cotton candy—all before Santa’s grand entrance! All children affected by autism, as well as all children 12 years of age and under, will each receive a special gift! Hosted at The Toronto Congress Centre, this party is expected to welcome the largest gathering of the community yet. Join the Jake’s House family in celebrating the season and spreading good cheer! Ensuring accessibility and comfort, these parties are complementary and are well-staffed with helpful volunteers. See you there! PLEASE NOTE: A maximum of six children may accompany one caregiver. You and your guests are only registered for this event once you have received your confirmation email with tickets. If you have signed up but have not received this email, please contact Jake’s House directly to avoid disappointment at [email protected] Jake’s House reserves the right to film and photograph this event and its guests, and publicly use the photos and recordings. By attending, you consent to having your image, audio and video shared on Jake’s House’s social media, website and other promotional materials. Once you arrive at the North Building of the Toronto Congress Centre, go to the Hall H Glass Door Entrance, […]

FREE Social Communication Drop-in Group at Adventure Place if you are part of the service program

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

This is a group for parents who are registered to receive services through the early abilities program. FREE Social Communication Drop-in Group at Adventure Place (155 McNicoll Ave, GYM) on the following dates: October 4th, 11th, 18th, November 1st, 15th, 22nd, 29th, and December 6th, 2018. This group will run from 8:45am-10:15am and will be facilitated by Early Abilities staff. Early Comm Drop In – flyer Fall 2018

Registered for JK

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding, tips

We are thankful our home school has a diagnostic kindergarden program for JB. It will be much easier next year this time since we can do the one drop off and it is walkable. I dislike getting the kids strapped into car seats and lugging a million big items around. After some researching, I know the registration for those with special needs should happen much much earlier than the mainstream program. I been in touch with the teachers that run the program and liked what I’ve seen so far. It is a small class with only a handful of kids with up to 2 teachers at times to help. I was initially planning on starting this conversation in December but upon chatting with the principle, he advise us do it right away. It’s true, what’s the point of waiting? We are planning on putting him in there anyways so might as well get it out of the way now rather than later. There is fundings involved and with the way the TDSB works it could take months before we get approved and devise up a plan. This is what I learned: If you child is newly registered but not attending a TDSB you need to set up meeting called SEPRC. It stands for special education program recommendation committee.  You go to the school you are interested in and ask the principal to start up the process. The school in turn, provides all your information to the special needs consultant who […]


Posted Leave a commentPosted in Happy, tips

When things get real hard and a series of unfortunate events pile on one after another, go ahead to vent or cry or whatever method of expression. Take the time given the situation. Sometimes you may only have a few minutes and your kids need you. In those situations if you feel you need more than a few minutes maybe it’s a good idea to call for help. Not everyone has help but if you do I suggest you take full advantage of it. Some days all I need is a few long sighs, sometimes after a long day of battles as I lay down to reflect on the day a good cry makes me feel better. However crying makes my eyes all puffy the next morning, so I try not to do that anymore. I’m not going to lie, I worry about his future a lot. Will he be independent enough to go to school next year, will he make any friends at school, will there be bullies to make him feel sad, how will he communicate this to me when he is non verbal, will he be able to find a job, drive a car, cook on his own, find a girlfriend and get married, the list does go on and on. I know the same questions could be asked of a child without autism. All these uncertainty that comes with autism it is hard not to worry. I’m coming to terms with the uncertainty and taking it […]

We did it again, not so smart

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Struggles, The others

You know when you make a mistake and vow to never make it again? Well, it turns out you forget and you make the same mistakes again and again. Rule number one with JB if he is angry we learned to always try water first, followed by snacks in case he is hungry and then toys. The rule stands if we have no idea why he is angry and upset. We took the fam jam out to quickly buy one thing and eat some ice cream at McDonalds. All was well when we got there and the one thing became 20 things. Hubby wanted to buy J corn nuts since he likes it and occupational therapist says it helps with his sensory needs so he took the boys to get that while I was in the next isle getting hot sauce. I hear J whine and making lots of unhappy noise and thought oh boy he probably sees the chips. I quickly return to meet them and said maybe he saw the chips in the centre isle up ahead and how we should do a detour to avoid it. Hubby said no need, he just wants the corn nuts. We normally would open snacks in the store but the nuts is an item you weight. How can we pay for it after he consumes it all? We end up getting the chips to hopefully calm him and he happily ate it. We made it down to back of the store […]

Wheel Trans Application

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

We hired a support person to help with JB toilet training when we first started training and that person used wheels trans and told us about the service. I looked into it but never really thought we needed it. However there were a few times where we had to make alternative travel arrangements where it would of made our lives easier if we were able to use this service. I decided to fill out the long application just in case we ever run into a situation where we need to use this. Figured out it might be worth my while. I was really just interested in the support person assistance card as I figured it will come handy one day. The bonus of this assistance card is, JB is under 12 so he is free and if I’m his support person I’m free too. The application: Don’t be intimated by the 19 page application. The first few just explains what the service is about and gives you instructions on what to fill out. Link to application can be found here.  For more information go to the TTC website. Section A contains questions about your everyday mobility and ability to use conventional transit and is completed by you/your representative. Section A also requests that you to certify that the information you/your representative have provided to Wheel-Trans is correct. Section B is your consent to have your health care professional(s) contacted for additional information or clarification if requested. Section C is completed by your health […]

Access 2 card: CN Tower

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Happy, Resources and funding, The others

When an Access 2 cardholder presents their valid Access 2 Card at any participating venue partner, their support person receives free admission; the cardholder pays regular admission. At CN tower kids under 4 gets in free which means JB is free and I am free as well. A friend gave us two tickets which means our family of 5 got in free. I figured the boys can experience it since we are not paying a dime. The line up was extremely long but we split up to sped things up, the hubby lined up for the free passes with JB while I took Mase and baby girl to check out the line to go up the elevator. I got the the front where there is a timer saying it will be 2 hour wait. I asked the attendant there if this time is accurate and she replies yes it is very. I was extremely hesitant but decided since we drove all the way downtown and parked might as well see how it is since hubby was in line anyways. It was a small trek before we got to where people were standing and that was pretty much where you take a picture. The attendant there said about 45 minutes. I thought 45 minutes is doable since we are here anyways and it is much better than 2 hours. By the time we took the photo, JB and hubby was able to join us. Surprisingly it wasn’t too bad for JB. […]

Poo smearing and taking off clothes

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Sleeping Issues, Struggles

When JB was first diagnosed, I went to a parenting group shortly after and the first session made me feel a million times better. I got to hear other people’s struggle and it made me realized that JB isn’t that bad. Yes he has a sleeping issue but at least he has good nights. At least he doesn’t smear poo or take off his clothes and run out the door. I felt horrible on the one hand hearing other families having to go through so much but on the other hand so very thankful JB doesn’t do that, at least yet. I’m pleased to say his potty training for peeing has been so amazing and we are so very proud of him for being able to hold it for so long. Poo on the other hand, not good at all. We have had a few poo successes but I really think that is contribution to good luck in terms of timing. His poo messes were first contained within his underwear but now he takes off his pants and underwear. One time we found him in the bath tub with his clothes off and quite a mess to clean but we thought that’s good sign how he understands it’s dirty and he wants a bath. Last two days we been noticing he likes to take off his shirt. Today he took off his shirt and pants and underwear after he did his business. It was a complete disaster, the poo was […]

The disability tax credit (DTC)?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in tax related

The DTC helps those with a disability or anyone caring for someone with a disability by reducing the amount of taxes they may owe. If the individual is under the age of 18 there is an additional supplement. Note, this is non-refundable tax credit meaning it can reduce the income tax they may have to pay but you won’t get anything back. Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as the registered disability savings plan, the working income tax benefit, and the child disability benefit. Who is eligible for the DTC? To be eligible, a person must have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. Don’t think about it in terms of your autism diagnosis but rather the effects that the impairment has on the person. The person must meet one of the following criteria: is blind is markedly restricted in the basics of daily living such as speaking, hearing, walking, eliminating (bowel or bladder), feeding, dressing, or mental functions necessary for everyday living is significantly restricted in two or more or the basic activities of daily living. Think of this as combinations of restrictions. If you have one severe and prolonged impairment or a combination of restrictions that add up to what the CRA calls a marked restriction. These significant restrictions have to exist together at least 90% of the time. needs life-sustaining therapy In addition, the person’s impairment must meet all of the following: is […]

Lawson – Children’s Respite Services

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

There is a children’s respite service located at Ellesmere and McCowan for children from age 0-17. Admission Criteria : Must have a confirmed diagnosis of an Intellectual Disability/Autism Spectrum Disorder. Families interested in the program are encouraged to go for a tour before completing an application package. A Medical/Health Information form must be completed by the child’s doctor prior to scheduling a first short visit. Activities : Camp-like environment, includes; Outdoor Play ground, Indoor gymnasium, movies, arts & crafts, games, sensory, community outings, computers, and personal internet access Comments : This is not a medical facility. Therefore, there are no doctors or nurses as staff complement. All bookings are first come, first serve basis. Families may book up to 24 days per calendar year. Bookings may be done up to 6 months in advance and are done on a first come, first served basis. Agency : Community Living Toronto Contact : Charla Rodak Phone : 647-729-1639 Email Address : [email protected] Address : 1712 Ellesmere Road, Scarborough, ON M5R 2S7

LHIN for services such as Occupational Therapy, SPL, Physiotherapy and Person Support

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) is divided by geographical area depending where you live in Ontario to plan, coordinate, integrate and fund health services at the local level. It is funded by Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The idea behind them is they provide services for you while you are waiting for autism services from the city. Some of their in-home services include: Nursing Personal support (help with bathing, dressing, etc.) Physiotherapy Occupational therapy Speech-language therapy Social work Nutritional counselling Medical supplies and equipment To be eligible, you have to not be accessing this service from the City elsewhere. For example, if you are accessing speech through another service then it will not be available through LHIN. For referral contact: 905-895-1240 or 416-222-2241 Toll-Free: 1 888 470 2222 Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 7 days a week Referrals can be made by a health-care professional, a family member or friend, or even by you. Simply get in touch with your local LHIN and they will help you get started. Once you sign up they will assign a care coordinator who manage your initial contact, assessment and follow up. They will set up a meeting with you at your home to discuss and see what you need. Keep this contact as they will be your point of contact going forward. For more information please go to  

Family Fun Fair on June 9, 2018

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Events

Carnival, Bingo, BBQ, Games and much more brought to you by Community Living Toronto. Saturday June 9, 2018 1712 Ellesmere Road 11am-3pm Admission is only 4 dollars Let them know if you’re coming… Central Michelle Grimley 647-729-1210 email: [email protected] Etobicoke  Georgina Stergiotis 647-294-6906 Email: [email protected]  North York Wendy Dyke 647-274-9281 Email: [email protected] Scarborough Felicita Zanatta 647-729-1635 Email: [email protected] Bus services are available from Etobicoke to take you to fair and departs from 295 the West Mall (ERO) at 10:15am sharp and departs from Lawson at 3pm. Space is limited and if you require this service please your seat with Georgina Stergiotis at 647-294-6906 [email protected] For more information visit  

Incontinence Supplies Grant Program – 400 dollars

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

Incontinence Supplies Grant Program Easter Seals Ontario administers the Incontinence Supplies Grant Program for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The program is for children and youth between the ages of 3 to 18 years with chronic disabilities (physical or developmental) that result in irreversible incontinence or retention problems lasting longer than six months and requiring the use of incontinence supplies. Application for 2018 can be found here. Review the Frequently Asked Questions as there are many answers to your question. Your child’s doctor will need to fill in a part of the application. Once your application has been approved, you will automatically receive a payment every 6 months as long as the file is active. How much will you get? Depends on what grant level you are at. Grant Level A ($400/yr): (3-18 years) Grant Level B ($900/yr): (6-18 years) Level C grant ($200/yr). (3-18 years) Every six months you will receive half of the approved grant amount for the year. The first payment will be made approximately six weeks after the initial application is approved and then every six months after. If you have more questions you can contact the Incontinence Supplies Grant Program at Easter Seals Ontario by Mail: Easter Seals Ontario, I.G. Program One Concord Gate, Suite 700 Toronto, Ontario M3C 3N6 Email: [email protected] Phone: 416-510-5074 Fax: 416.696.1035


Posted Leave a commentPosted in Resources and funding

CITYKIDS is a central single point of contact where they have a network of agencies for children with special needs and their families. They serve two groups of children from birth to 6 years old and 6 to 12 years old in the Greater Toronto Area. Specialized services from their partner agencies include: Resource and Consultative support to Child Care and Early Childhood Programs Speech and Language Services Occupational Therapy Behaviour Consultation Access to Infant Development Programs Referral to specialized programs (Geneva Centre, Adventure Place, etc) Family Counseling Information and Referral for Developmental Assessments Referral You can make the referral yourself by contacting the number below.  I left a voicemail and they called me back the next day to schedule for intake appointment the next week. Please note: There is two streams of services provided. Option, if  you want to put your child in daycare then CityKids help coordinate the special needs coordinator to work with the daycare centre. They may pull in a speech pathologist or occupational therapist. Option B, if you don’t put your child in a license daycare then they offer at home services where they come to your house and teach you how to work with you child. You must not be assessing this service from any where else as they view it as duplication of services since it is paid for by the government. Service Navigator, CITYKIDS 32 Heath Street West Toronto, ON, M4V 1T3 Tel: 416-920-6543 Fax: 416-920-1543 E-Mail: [email protected]

Child Disability Benefit

Posted Leave a commentPosted in tax related

You could be getting a tax free benefit up to $2730 per year that works out to be $227.50 per month for families who is caring for a child under 18 with a severe and prolonged impairment. This amount is based on eligible date of July 2016 to June 2018. Autism fits the criteria but in order to qualify for child disability benefit (CDB) you must be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). The CDB is a supplement to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). I know it sounds confusing but if you had a child in Canada you likely applied for their birth certificate, SIN and CCB at that time. Think of this benefit as a supplement to the money you already get. What does that mean? If you are currently getting the CCB, you get an additional amount for your child who qualifies for this disability benefit. If a request has already been submitted for the CCB there is no need to apply, the calculation is done automatically for the current and two previous CCB benefit years after you get the notice of determination letter from CRA. For years prior to that, a written request will have to be submitted to the attention of the CCB entitlement teat at the tax centre that serves your area. For more information about the child disability benefit (CDB) please refer to the RC4064, Disability-Related Information, visit the CRA website or call 1-800-387-1193. How much would you get? The CDB starts being […]