Program focus: Abuse, Autism, Behaviour Difficulty, Developmental Disability, LGBT, Mental Health, School, Sex Work, Skill Development, Trauma more…

Help Ahead: Access for Infants, Children, Youth & Families

Help Ahead is a free referral phone service to help connect infants, children, youth up to 18 years old and their families to mental health and addiction services in their community. Our goal is to help those in need find and get mental health help as efficiently and quickly as possible.

Anyone under the age of 18 experiencing a mental health issue or anyone who wants to support someone under the age of 18 and wants access to mental health services can call.

If you are a young person, you might call if you:

  • Feel anxious or worried
  • Feel depressed, sad or angry
  • Are being bullied
  • Don’t feel yourself…
  • Want more information about mental health and addiction services in your community.

If you are a parent/caregiver of an infant or child, you might call if:

  • Your infant/child is crying inconsolably; having tantrums; irregular sleep or eating patterns;
  • You are worried about your infant/child’s development; feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by parenting; or asking, “is this just a phase?”
  • You want more information about mental health and addiction services in your community.

Service providers, doctors, teachers, school social workers, child protection services and any other support service can call Help Ahead too for more information, but we will need the expressed consent of the person or parent to refer to a service.

Program focus: ADD/ADHD, Autism, Behaviour Difficulty, Child Development, Communication Skills, Developmental Disability, LGBT, Mental Health, Parenting, School, Skill Development, Socializing, Trauma more…

Children, youth up to age 18, their mental health professional and families can access psychiatric consultation via virtual platform. Youth and family must be connected to a service provider to support the referral process.

This service requires a referral by a mental health professional who has worked with the child/youth and family and is knowledgeable of their situation. The mental health professional will be involved in the entire process following the psychiatric consultation and will follow up with the client on any recommendations.

All referral forms must be faxed to 416-926-1784. If you have any questions, please email the Urban Tele-Mental Health Service Coordinator at or call us at 416-438-3697 ext. 21361.

UTMH Referral Form

UTMH Consent Form

UTMH Follow-up Form

Program focus: Autism, Behaviour Difficulty, Child Care, Child Development, Communication Skills, Day Care, Developmental Disability more…

Child Care Consultation provide services to licensed child care related to children with extra support needs and their families.

Child Consultation Staff are trained professionals who:

  • Support child care programs to build inclusive environments;
  • Work with child care staff to develop and carry out strategies that support children and families;
  • Deliver training to support learning around inclusive practices.

All requests go through child care centres. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Manager, Family Connections at 416-321-5464 ext. 482 or

Referral Details

Supervisors at licensed child care centres and home child care centres can submit a referral request online through the Every Child Belongs Portal and their online services account to access their assigned Resources Consultant to initiate a request for support.

This program is funded through the City of Toronto’s Every Child Belongs Model.

Program focus: Autism, Child Development, Communication Skills, Developmental Disability, Speech and Language

One in ten children need extra help developing speech and language skills. Without help, it may be harder for these children to listen, talk, read, and play with others. Strides Preschool Speech and Language Program (PSL) supports children living in the east area of Toronto achieve their optimal communication development.

Strides PSL offers the following services to children from birth until they are eligible to start full-day kindergarten: assessment, consultation to parents, community-based children’s programs, and other professionals, parent training and information sessions; group and individual speech and language intervention, and referral to a wide range of child and family services in the community.

Service duration
The type and duration of service provided are determined based on the child’s level of communication functioning and caregivers’ preferences for service plan options. Services may range from consultation every few months to participation in weekly therapy sessions that typically are offered once a week for approximately six weeks.

For more information about the program, click here.

Satellite Locations

Dorset Park Community Hub
1911 Kennedy Road, Suite 105
Toronto, ON M1P 2I9

Malvern Family Resource Centre
90 Littles Road
Scarborough, ON M1B 5E2

Strides Toronto
120 Middlefield Road
Scarborough, ON M1S 4M6

BGC East Scarborough
100 Galloway Road
Scarborough, ON M1E 1W7

West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre
2555 Eglinton Ave East
Scarborough, ON M1K 5J1

Referral Details

Parents/caregivers, childcare providers, and/or other professionals involved in child’s care can refer the child to the program with parent/caregiver consent.

Referrals can be made online or by calling 1-833-575-5437.

The Preschool Speech and Language Program at Strides Toronto is part of a community partnership led by Surrey Place Centre, in collaboration with The Hanen Centre, Lumenus Community Services, Macaulay Child Development Centre and George Hull Family and Child Centre.

Program focus: Autism, Developmental Disability

Strides Toronto has been providing evidence-based interventions for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for nearly 20 years. We are proud of the high-quality, evidence-based services our staff provide to children and youth with ASD and their families. Our service offerings are flexible and consider individual needs. Individualized intake assessments are completed to help determine a plan for service. The wide range of services available to children, youth and their families are frequently evaluated and monitored to be flexible and responsive to changing evidence and practice.

Our clinical team includes experienced Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). Our team of experts will work with you and your family in developing individualized services and supports to meet the needs of your child/youth with ASD.

Family-centred care is the fundamental basis of service delivery within Strides Toronto’s Autism Services. This approach values parents and caregivers as experts on their child and as key decision makers in their child’s interventions. It also recognizes their lifelong commitment to their child’s learning and wellness.

We offer a variety of in-person and virtual services (VS) and Core Clinical resources to support families. Our VS are offered by phone or by video through our secure Zoom Healthcare platform.

Behavioural Intervention
This service is for children and or youth who require individualized support across a few learning domains and teaches essential skills based on your child’s individual needs. It involves one-on-one sessions with a behavior therapist and may include small group instruction if appropriate. Areas of focus are identified in collaboration with caregivers and may include communication, social/play skills, learning readiness, daily living skills, self regulating, and management of challenging behaviour. Goals and session durations are personalized for your family’s needs.

Group Services
Group-based ABA Services focus on skill-building in the areas of communication, social skills, self-help skills or behaviour management/ group readiness skills. Individualized goals are selected based on assessment results and in collaboration with family goals.

Behaviour Consultations
Individualized consultation services are for families looking for support on a specific goal. Behaviour Consultations includes coaching and strategies using Applied Behaviour Analysis principles (ABA) to address your child individual strengths, needs, and goals. Behaviour consultations will include clinical assessments to obtain information, and individualized Behaviour Intervention Plan, and parent training. Topics may include behaviour reduction, toileting, sleep, community outings, or a specific goal of your choice. Coaching is available to support parents and caregivers in implementing recommended strategies to help with long-term outcomes and to help transfer skills. Parents attend all Consultation Services sessions. Consultations are offered by phone or by video through our secure Zoom Healthcare platform. Depending on the goal and your family’s needs, consults are offered in 6 and 12-week durations.

For more information about Strides Toronto’s Foundational Family Services, please contact 416-438-3697 ext. 19055 or email

How to Register with The Ontario Autism Program

Strides Toronto Autism Services Orientation

The entry to school program includes two main parts. The first part is a six-month, group-based, skill-building program, focused on helping children develop school-readiness skills in six areas:

  • Communication – conversation, expressing wants and needs, understanding words and language, social communication, and non-verbal communication
  • Play – toy exploration, and engaging in group play/games
  • Social interaction – understanding of social boundaries, interactions with peers, and learning new behaviours by observing/imitating peers
  • Functional routines – following classroom routines, and self-help skills such as dressing and toilet training
  • Behavioural self-management – emotional regulation and being able to wait their turn
  • Pre-academics, learning and attention – developing new learning skills, working within a group setting, and independent work

The group-based program is multi-disciplinary and supported by staff with expertise in:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Applied behaviour analysis
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Early childhood development

After completing the group-based part of the program, children will start the second part of the program, which provides them with individual transition supports as they enter school. Families and educators will also be able to access consultation services from entry to school program staff, as needed, during a child’s first six months in school.

Call our intake line at 416-438-3697 ext. 19055 for more information.

Eligibility Details

To participate in the Entry to School program, your child must be:

  • registered in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP)
  • between three to six years old as of December 31 in the year they are starting school
  •  starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time

How to Register with The Ontario Autism Program

Strides Toronto Autism Services Orientation

Program focus: Autism, Behaviour Difficulty

Rapid and personalized care to support children with autism to keep themselves from harm as well as their loved ones.

Children with autism are particularly vulnerable to harm, including inappropriate behaviours, negative thoughts, and physical aggression. Safety is a critical issue among their families and caregivers. Our new Urgent Response Service provides timely services to address a specific need, designed to prevent risk escalation to self, others, and/or property. Children and their families can receive up to 12 weeks of personalized services and support, which may include:

  • Short-term consultation with a child’s intervention team, caregivers and educators
  • Respite services
  • Direct support to the family and professionals involved to implement behaviour therapy with the child using a mediator model approach.

Each child and family will have an Urgent Response Service Coordinator working with them to develop and oversee the service plan. The coordinator will also provide service navigation to other services within or outside the Ontario Autism Program.

If you have additional questions, contact Surrey Place at 1-833-575-KIDS (5437) or

Referral Details

All referrals are welcome. Families can self-refer or can be referred by a clinician, care coordinator or other relevant professionals. Upon referral, you will be screened to determine if you are eligible.

Eligibility Details

  1. Ages: 0 to 18 years
  2. Must have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  3. Registered in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP).
  4. Showing one of the following high-risk behaviours that have escalated in intensity over the last 14 days:
    • Suicidal ideation or behaviour
    • Violent thinking
    • Fire starting
    • Harm to animals
    • Risk of exploitation
    • Self-injurious behaviour
    • Aggression
    • Inappropriate sexual behaviour
    • Flight risk
    • Property destruction

Program focus: Autism, Developmental Disability, Skill Development, Socializing

Galloway March Break, Summer Camp, Holiday and Saturday Respite

Our Galloway Respite program offers a range of accessible relief services for youth aged 12 to 18 and adults aged 18 to 35 with a developmental disability or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The goal of these services is to provide quality and flexible family centred programming that promotes the development of both social and life skills to the young adults who attend.

Access to service is based on an individual’s plan, family’s changing needs and availability. To be eligible all participants will have to complete a respite plan that meets our service criteria. This plan is reviewed yearly by staff and the family and/or individual. Available during breaks in the school year.

Steps to access the program:

  1. Call the program at 416-724-7444
  2. Set up an intake appointment to discuss the program, its cost structure, suitability and interest
  3. Complete required paperwork; support to complete can be provided

The Galloway After School Program (GASP) is a socialization, life skills, and activity group for adolescents and young adults in East Toronto who have been diagnosed with Autism or a mild to moderate developmental challenge.

Attendees learn life skills such as cooking, street-safety, sexuality and relationship building. GASP helps meet individual needs and provides a safe, structured, and fun environment where they can learn and develop more independence skills. Activities and outings encourage a sense of cooperation, responsibility and achievement.

GASP uses Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to help develop goals for the youth. Assigned Primary Workers are responsible for the ongoing monitoring on the progress of goals. Functional Behaviour Assessments are completed a minimum of once a year and may be used as the basis for individual goal development. Family meetings and discussion with the youth are also essential components involved in the development of goal.

The program runs two afternoons a week during the school year – approximately seven hours per week. The staffing ratio is one staff member per four youth.

Steps to access the program:

  1. Call the program at 416-724-7444
  2. Set up an intake appointment to discuss the program, its cost structure, suitability and interest
  3. Complete required paperwork; support to complete can be provided

Program focus: Autism, Developmental Disability, Skill Development, Socializing

Adults Achieving Independence through Motivation and Skill (AAIMS) is a full day program that supports adults with an autism spectrum disorder and/or developmental disabilities.

AAIMS focuses on the development of skills that will enhance quality of life, working towards independence. Knowledgeable, caring, creative and qualified staff support these adults in the areas of life skills, literacy, socialization, peer networking, volunteerism, and creating opportunities for their inclusion in the community.

AAIMS operates Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 3 PM at the cost of $60.00/day. There is an option of extended hours at an additional cost. AAIMS runs out of our Galloway Centre, this site offers a home like environment with the modern technologies to support learning and personal development.

Referral Details

  1. Call the program at 416-724-7444
  2. Set up an intake appointment to discuss the program, its cost structure, suitability and interest
  3. Complete required paperwork *support to complete can be provided