It has been a grassroots development —
it hasn’t been something that goverment
has handed down and told us to implement
With its strategic plan completed, the Joint ASD Planning Task Force was ready to tell the world they had a big dream:
For children, youth, and adults with ASD to live to the full potential of their lives at home, at school, at play and at work.
The Joint ASD Planning Task Force embarked on an ambitious communications strategy, meeting with local leaders and stakeholders to tell them about the process they had been through and the plan they had developed.
They wanted to share their dream, and they also wanted to generate buy-in so that they would have the necessary commitment and support across the community to implement the plan. A PowerPoint presentation was developed that told the story of their journey and described the key elements of the plan in clear, plain language.
The Joint ASD Planning Task Force began to transform itself, asking partners to sign a formal partnership agreement and renaming itself the York ASD Partnership (YASDP). The partnership also started to secure funding for its work. Participating organizations were asked to make voluntary donations to a “central pot” so that the emerging Partnership could build a supporting infrastructure.
A priority task in building this infrastructure was to hire a Project Manager – someone with a thorough knowledge of ASD, the local network of supports and interventions, and the demographic profile and geo-political characteristics of York Region.
The Project Manager needed to be a person well versed in systems change and their main responsibility would be to guide the implementation of the Strategic Plan and to coordinate everyone’s efforts. The Project Manager would report directly to the newly established Steering Committee and indirectly to the Co-Chairs of YASDP.
Following the recommendations of the Strategic Plan and its accompanying implementation plan, Working Groups were established with a balanced representation of parents, local service providers, and community stakeholders. Ultimately, seven Working Groups were structured around the following functions:
The Partnership was committed to the principles of trust, openness, and transparency. Parents and families who had the lived experience were equal partners with service providers during discussions and around planning tables.
Service providers who might have been competing for scarce resources in the past dropped any tendency to protect their turf and, instead, turned outward to do whatever they could to make the shared dream come true.
For over a year after the release of the Strategic Plan, the partnership aligned, coordinated, and organized within the ASD and service provider communities while also reaching out to the broader public community.
On October 4, 2011, the York ASD Partnership was officially launched.
Speakers included 3 people living with ASD who shared personal stories, challenges and successes:
The president and manager from the York Region Chapter of Autism Ontario
Guest speakers from York Region:
The launch program also featured an art/photography exhibit and entertainment, including a performance by a talented opera singer, all created or performed by people with ASD.
The working groups presented accomplishments from their first year of operation and showcased their plans for the future. All this was capped off with the official launch of the YASDP website.
Download the York ASD Partnership
Launch Press Release
It was an enormous accomplishment that had been made possible by the joint effort of parents and families of children, youth, and adults with ASD in York Region and the following founding partners:
In addition, representatives from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services / Ministry of Community and Social Services; and the Ministry of Education attended meetings of YASDP in an ex-officio capacity and to provide general support and information.