Chapter 5: Hedging Our Bets

It has been a grassroots development —
it hasn’t been something that goverment
has handed down and told us to implement

— A service provider representative.

Communicating the Plan

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 Strategic Plan PPT

Download the Powerpoint presentation


Building Support

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.

Job posting for Project Manager
Job posting for Assistant Project Manager
Job description for Assistant Project Manager

building support.jpg

Establishing Working Groups

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:

  • Screening and Assessment
  • Communications
  • Mapping and Pathways
  • Physician Support
  • Professional Development
  • Transition Planning
  • Systems Change

Trust, Openness and Transparency

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.

The Launch of York ASD Partnership

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:

  • Daniel Share-Strom
  • Braxton Hartman
  • Carol Ann MacDonald

The president and manager from the York Region Chapter of Autism Ontario

  • Diana Merrell, President
  • Sarah Shaw, Manager

Guest speakers from York Region:

  • Susan LaRosa, Director of Education at the York Catholic District School Board
  • Ken Thurston, Director of Education at the York Region District School Board
  • Kim Baker, CEO of the Central Local Integrated Health Network
  • Dan Beale, Manager of Early Intervention Services with the Region of York
  • Inspector Maria Arrons with York Region Police

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.


York ASD Partnership Launch Press Release

Download the York ASD Partnership
Launch Press Release


Launch of York ASD Partnership

Photo gallery of the York ASD Partnership Launch

A Joint Effort

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:

Autism Ontario – York Region ChapterBlue Hills Child and Family CentreCatulpa Community Support ServicesChildren’s Case Coordination ServicesChildren’s Treatment NetworkYork Region Early Intervention ServicesKerry’s Place Autism ServicesKinark Child and Family ServicesMackenzie HealthYork Region Preschool Speech and Language ProgramReenaTreatment Research and Education for Autism and Developmental DisordersYork Catholic District School BoardYork Region District School BoardYork Support Services NetworkYork University Faculty of Health

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.