Hands theFamilyHelpNetwork has announced a series of online learning opportunities for children, youth, families, caregivers and service providers for Autism services during COVID-19.

“We are pleased to say that all of the families we work with have successfully transitioned to virtual service and we have added new clients over the past three months as well,” said Dr. Karen Grattan-Miscio, Senior Manager of Autism Services at Hands. “Families are telling us that they feel supported and that the virtual service has been meaningful and valuable for them.”

“As a trusted leader in autism services, our team remains committed to meeting the needs of families and community partners during the current pandemic,” Dr. Grattan-Miscio added.

Officials say they are building off recent success in offering online services and learning opportunities. The following are the new announcements:

  • A new Caring for Caregivers Virtual Support Group: Chat with a Registered Social Worker and other caregivers from the community about important topics. This virtual support group will address current issues and ways to manage and mitigate stress. Every Thursday starting July 9, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • A new virtual “How To” Learning Series: This series will support caregivers to implement common recommendations, such as first-then, visual schedules and token boards. Each week Hands’ team will focus on a different strategy by breaking it down into simple steps, providing examples and models, and answering questions. Every Thursday starting July 9, at 11:00 a.m.
  • Online Autism Clinics for Summer 2020: Featuring clinics such as Virtual Story Time, Let’s Get Social Virtual Edition, Virtual Teen Social, and Let’s Get Working. Beginning July 6, days, times will vary.
  • Online Autism Seminars for Summer 2020: Featuring Seminars on Talking to Your Children About Difficult Topics; Body Changes, What Now?; Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder; School Readiness; Not on My Plate; Change is Hard; Communication Tango; Communication Chorus Line; and Master the School Meeting: School Advocacy. Beginning July 7, days and times vary, please click the link for more information.
  • Virtual Autism Consultations for Summer 2020: Available by video or phone from anywhere in Northern Ontario and open to any families who have a child or youth diagnosed with Autism. Consultations will provide help on service coordination, behavioural consultation and speech-language consultation. Available for free, every Tuesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“Hands autism services recognizes the importance of accessible and flexible service options during this time and that families are looking for supports across a variety of areas,” said Grattan-Miscio. “We are pleased to be able to offer these helpful resources in an on-line format to help people during a very difficult time.”