Parent & Caregiver Education

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Parent & Caregiver Education

Kinark Autism Services offers a variety of educational opportunities on a wide range of topics for parents and caregivers of children and youth with autism.

Parent and Caregiver Workshops

The Spring 2021 workshops will be delivered virtually via our WebEx video conferencing platform. Specific instructions will be emailed to registered participants prior to each session.

Our team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and clinicians have many years of experience training and coaching parents, caregivers, and other professionals using evidence-based practices.

April dates available for our workshops! All workshops are free of charge!


Workshop Topics

Parenting a Child with ASD and Mental Health Needs

Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also struggle with mental health challenges like constant worries, low mood, and overwhelming feelings of frustration. When your child is unable to control their emotions, a parent often feels helpless and doesn’t know where to start. This workshop will help you understand the overlap between autism and mental health disorders, explore the ways that emotions can be both helpful and unhelpful, and learn strategies to support your child.

Date: Monday, March 22, 2021 from 1 pm – 3 pm

Communicating with Words

From the first cry after your child’s birth to learning to say their first word, there are many steps along the way and many more to go before your child masters communicating with words. This session will provide an overview of communication milestones and critical early language skills. You will leave with individualized goals and several key strategies you can use to further your child’s early language and communication development.

Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Teaching Handwashing

How do we teach our children with autism to effectively wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer for 20 seconds? This training is designed to review how evidenced-based practices can be utilized to teach children with autism how to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer effectively. You will learn how to break down handwashing into achievable steps, how to use prompts and reinforcement to promote successful outcomes. You will leave this session with a variety of strategies that can help in increasing your child’s hand washing skills to help keep your child healthy and reduce the risk of spreading germs to others.

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 1 pm – 2 pm

Building Healthy Sleep Routines

Sleep concerns can be common in children with autism and many parents struggle with how to address them. You are not in this alone! We are here to support you with ways to develop a healthy sleep routine. In this workshop you will learn ways to track your child’s sleeping behaviours, identify and troubleshoot potential problems with your child’s current sleep routine, establish and introduce a new sleep routine for your child, and discuss some strategies based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) that aim to promote better sleeping behaviours for your child.

Date: Thursday, March 25 2021 from 1 pm – 3 pm

Let’s Talk About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Do you want to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder? In this session we will discuss autism, some early signs and risk
factors, and describe how ASD is diagnosed to help you better understand your child’s diagnosis. We will review cognitive differences in individuals with ASD, including challenges with executive functioning, theory of mind and perspective taking, and highlight some areas of strengths in individuals with ASD. This workshop will help you to identify evidenced-based services and provide a brief overview of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). Families will have the opportunity to share experiences and chat with our knowledgeable clinicians throughout the session.

Date: Monday, March 29, 2021 from 1 pm – 2:30 pm

A Parent’s Guide to Bullying

Bullying is pervasive in Canadian schools and communities. Research indicates that children with autism are at a much greater risk of being bullied than their peers. This workshop engages parents who may be concerned about their children being bullied or perpetuating bullying in the presence of their peers. Content includes defining the common types of bullying, identifying a variety of roles that children may play in the context of bullying, and discussing its prevalence. A significant emphasis will be placed on teaching concrete, actionable strategies for parents of children across all stages of childhood (pre-school, school-age, and adolescents) to ensure that you are equipped to prevent and address bullying. Additional strategies are provided to prevent and address cyberbullying due to the increasing use of technology and social media.

Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 from 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Managing Meltdowns and More: Part 2

Let’s continue to add to your managing challenging behaviours toolkit! After a brief review of the content discussed in Part 1, you will learn different ways to collect information that will shed light on when and why a child is engaging in challenging behaviours. You will also learn how to develop a plan to change behaviours based on those reasons. You will leave this workshop with a variety of practical strategies to address challenging behaviour and understand when and how to seek additional support.

Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 from 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Teaching Your Child to Wear a Face Covering

With the impacts of COVID-19, we are all adjusting to a new normal. The Ontario government recommends wearing a face covering in indoor public settings to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This training is designed to review how evidenced-based practices can be utilized to teach children with autism to wear a face covering. You will become familiar with strategies to help your child learn to tolerate them by offering choice, breaking down the steps into achievable targets, use of reinforcement, and other effective methods to increase the likelihood of successful face covering wear in your community.

Date: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 from 1 pm – 2:30 pm

Building Healthy Eating Routines

We all know how challenging a picky eater can be, but did you know there are Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) strategies that can help? You will become more familiar with the importance of good eating habits, issues common to picky eaters, and factors that may influence them, how to increase healthy eating routines, and ways to track how your child’s eating habits are changing. Additional resources on creating and managing a healthier lifestyle will also be provided.

Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021 from 1 pm – 3:30 pm

School Series: Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Strategies in School and PPM 140

This session provides a brief overview of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and an introduction to the PPM 140 policy. PPM 140 is a policy that mandates the use of ABA in schools to assist in the education of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). You may have heard of these terms, or they might be entirely new to you, but learning about and understanding the principles of ABA and how it is incorporated into your child’s special education program is important. This session will help you build awareness of your rights as a parent and caregiver when planning and supporting effective educational programs for your child with autism.

Date: Monday, April 12, 2021 from 1 pm – 2:30 pm

Teaching Physical Distancing to Your Child

COVID-19 has introduced some new terminology into our everyday lives. What does physical distancing mean? How do we teach our children with autism to practice physical distancing? This training is designed to guide parents on how to use evidenced-based practices to teach children to recognize a two metre distance, and when, where and with who they must practice physical distancing. You will explore simple visuals, tools and videos to help explain the rules of physical distancing to your child, leaving this session with a variety of practical strategies and tools that can be implemented to support successful physical distancing.

Date: Monday, April 12, 2021 from 7 pm – 8 pm

Kinark Kreates Q&A: Helping Your Child Learn New Skills

Do you find yourself constantly giving the same instructions to your child? You are not alone! Teaching your child new skills can sometimes be frustrating. This workshop will further discuss the Kinark Kreates Least-to-Most Prompting video which provides tips on how to teach your child new skills quickly and efficiently. This session is intended for parents who would like to ask questions to an ASD Consultant on how to help their child with autism become more independent. This video is available to watch here: https://youtu.be/qr65FnMs5xk.

Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 7 pm – 8 pm

Let’s Talk About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Do you want to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder? In this session we discuss autism, some early signs and risk factors, and describe how ASD is diagnosed to help you better understand your child’s diagnosis. We will review cognitive differences in individuals with ASD, including challenges with executive functioning, theory of mind and perspective taking, and highlight some areas of strengths in individuals with ASD. This workshop will help you to identify evidenced-based services and provide an overview of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). Families can also to share experiences and chat with our knowledgeable clinicians throughout the session.

Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 from 7 pm – 8:30 pm

Creating Routines at Home

We all thrive on routine. Children with autism do especially well with repetition and predictability. But what happens when your child’s regular routine is disrupted? This workshop teaches you how to establish a healthy routine at home with your child and how to manage disruptions. You will learn the importance of establishing predictable daily routines and how to help your child adapt to changes in routine. You will be provided with several Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) based tools that will help you create structure at home such as a first-then board, visual schedule template, choice board, table-top activities, and more.

Date: Friday, April 16, 2021 from 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Introduction to Toilet Training

Toilet training can be a challenge for anyone! This session will cover what you need to know prior to starting toilet training for your child and set you up to be successful. This workshop will discuss key prerequisite skills and important considerations before starting a toilet training program. You will learn how to decide when to move to the next step of toilet training through the various strategies and tools shared, including communicating their need to use the toilet. We will provide you with the information you need to create an individualized toilet training plan for your child to be successful.

Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Transitions Done Right

Change happens but it does not have to be hard! In this session we will help you identify the bigger and smaller transitions in your child’s life and provide you with the tools and strategies for success. You will learn how to prepare your child for the many transitions across their day, their week, and the bigger transitions for years to come. In this workshop we will also share strategies on how to access transition supports at school.

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 1 pm – 3 pm

Teaching Functional Life Skills

Everyone knows it’s important to teach your child their ABCs and 123s. What about the skills they need to get through the rest of their day and lives? Functional life skills are essential skills that allow us to function independently at home, school, work, and in our communities. Skills may include brushing our teeth, ordering take-out, and filing our taxes. In this workshop you will learn seven steps to teaching your child functional life skills. This workshop is appropriate for caregivers of children and youth with autism aged two – 18.

Date: Monday, April 26, 2021 from 1 pm – 3 pm

Parenting a Child with ASD and Mental Health Needs

Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also struggle with mental health challenges like constant worries, low mood, and overwhelming feelings of frustration. When your child is unable to control their emotions, a parent often feels helpless and doesn’t know where to start. This workshop will help you understand the overlap between autism and mental health disorders, explore the ways that emotions can be both helpful and unhelpful, and learn strategies to support your child.

Date: Monday, April 26, 2021 from 6 pm – 8 pm

Teaching Handwashing

How do we teach our children with autism to effectively wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer for 20 seconds? This training is designed to review how evidenced-based practices can be utilized to teach children with autism how to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer effectively. You will learn how to break down handwashing into achievable steps, how to use prompts and reinforcement to promote successful outcomes. You will leave this session with a variety of strategies that can help in increasing your child’s hand washing skills to help keep your child healthy and reduce the risk of spreading germs.

Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2021 from 1 pm – 2 pm

Transition to Kindergarten

Are you wondering how to support your child’s transition to kindergarten? This workshop is tailored to prepare families for this significant milestone with helpful information and tips, such as the steps to prepare your child for school, effective communication with the school, visual supports, and more!

Date: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 from 7 pm – 8:30 pm

School Series: Understanding Your Child’s Special Education Placement and the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)

The Ontario Ministry of Education recognizes that students develop and learn in different ways and that some children require special education programs. The Education Act requires school boards to provide special education programs for children who need them through the IPRC process. The IPRC process is a pathway to ensure proper placements and levels of support are secured for children who require them. In this session, the IPRC process will be broken down into clear steps and your role as a parent and caregiver in this process will be defined. Our knowledgeable and experienced clinicians will cover important milestones in your child’s school journey through the IPRC lens and you will have the opportunity to ask IPRC related questions throughout session.

Date: Friday, April 30, 2021 from 9:30 am – 11 am

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