Family Support & Inclusion Programs

Family Support & Inclusion Programs


The Family Support and Inclusion program offers a variety of programs that help connect families with exceptional and complex needs. For more detailed information on any of the programs please contact the Family Support and Inclusion specialist.


A support group for caregivers of individuals with exceptional and complex needs. Connect with other families in your community and discuss topics that affect and interest you. Gain support and insight from local families. Runs once a month from September – June.


Building Blocks is an 8-week program taking place once a week, with each session lasting an hour and a half. Building Blocks is a program that uses Lego as a tool in a structured and inclusive way to increase motivation to participate and positive interaction with peers. Throughout the program the children will be using and developing social skills, building strategies such as sharing, taking turns, making eye contact, problem solving, self-regulation, practicing patience, and using fine motor skills. Each week the children will be working in small groups where they will be given a role to assist in the completion of building a Lego set.


This course is designed specifically for children with Special Needs for the Military Family Resource Centres in Ontario, 2018. Improv can be scary for some of us – it is hard to get up and be “on stage” in front of others, with this in mind, the classes are set up with a progression of games and activities based on length of time it might take for class members to warm up to each other and develop the confidence to participate in different ways. The course is also built upon repetition of activities and games – this is to encourage and allow participants to fully learn the skills that come with each activity and session (note – new activities and games are highlighted in each session). If your class moves through the lesson plans quicker – awesome, there are extra activities and games at the bottom of each session’s lesson plan. If you don’t make it through them all, that’s ok, maybe you needed or wanted to spend more time on one particular activity this week – whatever works best for your group!


This program is based off of the SibShop Model by Don Meyer and Patricia Vadasy. It is designed to be a support group for siblings of a child with special needs. This program provides a fun and supportive environment for siblings to share the joys and struggles of being a sibling to an individual with special needs. This is accomplished through discussion, activities and a variety of games designed to be unique, upbeat and appealing to a wide ability range, crafts activities and special guest to teach participants new skills.


Children’s Friendship Training is a 10-week, evidence-based, group-format, parent-assisted social skills intervention for children ages 8 – 12. It has been proven effective with verbal children who have high- functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD NOS, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and prenatal alcohol exposure. This program was developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where it has been used and studied for over 20 years with more than 1,000 families. This training is geared towards motivated children who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session, children are taught crucial social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session during role-play and play activities (e.g. sports, boardgames, etc.). Parents are taught how to assist their children in making and keeping friends by providing feedback through coaching during weekly socialization homework assignments designed to build on skills practiced in the sessions.

Topics of Instruction:

  • How to ‘play detective’ to find common interests
  • How to join a group of kids at play
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
  • How to be a good host on a playdate
  • How to be a good winner
  • How to be a good sport
  • How to show respect to adults
  • How to make phone calls to friends

Participation requirements:

  • Both the child and 1 designated parent must commit to attending the entire 10-week program )consideration will be given if someone is ill)
  • Child must have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Child must have difficulties establishing and / or maintaining friendships
  • Child must have verbal communication skills
  • Child must be able to participate in a group setting without additional support beyond that provided within the program
  • Child must demonstrate emerging social skills (interest in engaging with peers, attempts to verbally communicate, manages emotions in a non-aggressive way) and an interest in building relationships with same-aged peers
  • Children must be between 8 to 12 years of age.
  • Children must be interested in attending the program


The UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS®) is a manualized,   social skills training intervention for adolescents and young adults. This program has a strong evidence- base for use with teens and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but may also be appropriate for teens and young adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other socio-emotional problems. It includes 14 consecutive weeks of training with both a teen/young adult and a parent component which occur simultaneously. PEERS is designed for motivated teens in the 7th-12th grade who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session through role plays and during real play activities (e.g. playing sports, board games, etc.). Each week there is a “homework” component in which the teen is encouraged to practice their new skills. Parents are taught how to assist their teens in making and keeping friends in their group session and are expected to provide feedback to their teen through coaching during weekly socialization homework assignments.

Topics of Instruction:

  • How to find common interests by trading information
  • How to use appropriate conversational skills
  • How to appropriately use humor
  • How to enter and exit conversations between peers
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
  • How to handle rumors and gossip
  • How to be a good host during get-togethers
  • How to make phone calls to friends
  • How to choose appropriate friends
  • How to be a good sport
  • How to handle arguments and disagreements
  • How to change a bad reputation

The Research Finds…

  • Increased adolescent social skills and knowledge
  • Increased number and frequency of hosted “get-togethers”
  • Improved overall social skills including: cooperation, assertion and responsibility (parent reported)
  • Improved social responsiveness including: awareness, recognition and communication (parent reported)
  • A trend toward increased overall social skills (teacher reported)

What are the participation requirements?

  • Teens who struggle with making and keeping friends
  • Teens in the 7th-12th grade
  • Teens must be interested in the program and attend voluntarily

 *** More program options to come… ***