Little Boy Pointing upward

Little girl with autistic disorder playing with toy near color wall


As part of the changes to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP), all children who are 12 to 48 months (4 years) old and registered in the OAP are eligible and will be invited to participate in caregiver-mediated early years programs for free.

In partnership, Connections Early Years Family Centre, Children First and John McGivney Children’s Centre make up the three service agencies selected to deliver caregiver-mediated early years programs in Windsor-Essex.

Caregiver-mediated early years programs help young children learn new skills and meet individual goals. All programs are play-based, child-led and developmentally appropriate. Programs are free of charge and available for a period of up to six months per child.

Through these programs, you will learn therapeutic strategies and specific techniques from professionals based on your child’s individual needs. The programs aim to build your capacity to support your child’s skill development in:

  • social interaction
  • Play
  • Communication
  • emotional development
  • adaptive development and self-help skills


Once you receive an invitation from the Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services, visit to learn more about the service and other opportunities available to you.

When you choose the program that’s right for your child, you register directly with the service provider. For a full list of service providers, click here.

In the West region, Connections, Children First and John McGivney Children’s Centre will be offering a choice of three Caregiver-Mediated Early Years programs to families in Windsor-Essex.

Our team will be providing Social ABCs, Project IMPact and the PLAY Project as options for families.

Service is available in English and French and translation services for other languages will be available as needed.

We will provide online/virtual programs for families located anywhere in Ontario as space allows.

If you have questions about our new programs OR have received an invitation letter and would like to register, you can email us at or call 519-250-1850.



In Partnership with:

In partnership with Children First, Connections Early Years Family Centre, and John McGivney Children's Centre


Boy playing with blocks

Social ABCs

Provider: Connections Early Years Family Centre
Age range: 12 to 42 months at the start of the program
Type of program:  Individual parent coaching sessions
Location: Coaching sessions can be virtual or in-person at Connections Early Years Family Centre
Duration: 12 weeks
Visits: Individual parent-child coaching sessions ranging from 1 – 3 times per week

Social ABCs is an evidence-based, caregiver-mediated intervention for toddlers who have social communication difficulties. It is based on a combination of developmental and behavioural principles and focuses on improving a toddler’s use of vocalizations to communicate and sharing positive emotions with others. Opportunities for teaching and learning come from the toddler’s natural interests during playtime and day-to-day caregiving routines. Parents or other primary caregivers work with a trained Social ABCs coach to learn the intervention strategies in their child’s natural environment, using play-based activities and daily routines that their child finds most motivating.

For more information, visit the Social ABCs early intervention program website.

Happy Baby

Project ImPACT

Provider: Children First
Age range: Earliest age of diagnosis up to 48 months
Type of program: Individual and group coaching
Location: Virtual or in-person in the home or clinic
Duration: 12 weeks
Visits: Each visit is 60 to 90-minutes in length, between 1 and 2 visits per week.

The Project ImPACT (Improving Parents as Communication Teachers) program is aimed at parents and their young children with a diagnosis of autism, to increase social communication, imitation and play skills throughout daily routines. Parents are experts on their child and are coached by highly qualified professionals. Together, parents and the trainer develop priority goals and activities to support the child’s learning throughout the day. Project ImPACT uses a combination of developmental and behavioural strategies to increase social-communication skills in four main areas: social engagement, language, social imitation, and play.

For more information, visit the Project ImPACT website.

Parents playing with daughter

The PLAY Project

Provider: John McGivney Children’s Centre
Age range: 14 to 48 months
Type of program: Individual
Location: Virtual or in-person in the home or community
Duration: 6 months
Visits: Each visit is 1 to 3 hours in length, between 2 and 4 visits per month.

The PLAY Project is an evidence-based, playful, practical, parent-implemented program that supports the development of social interaction, communication, play and pre-academic skills in children on the autism spectrum. This program is appropriate for children up to 48 months of age who are communicating at a variety of levels, from no words up to and including sentences. The PLAY Project is designed for children at all levels of need. It is developmentally appropriate and fun, with strategies that can be easily used in a family’s daily activities.

For more information, visit The PLAY Project website.