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Post Secondary Transitions


“Transitioning from high school is like falling off a cliff….”
- parent of a youth with special needs in Ontario


staff and student

Transition planning is important for all students; however, for students who will require post secondary community services and supports it is essential a detailed plan is developed and implemented. Individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities can access services and support through: the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as well as some community sponsored programs.

Once an individual turns 21, it is no longer a system of entitlement. Individuals with disabilities do not have a right to day programs, supported employment, further training or basic skills development. This comes as a shock to many families, especially those who have not been actively researching and pursing community services for children with disabilities.

In 2008 the Ontario government passed the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act. This replaced the Developmental Services Act (which was repealed in 2011.) The new act requires all individuals with a Developmental Disability in Ontario who require services from the Ministry of Community and Social Services apply to a government application and funding entity. According to the act, “[e]very application entity shall provide a single point of access to services and supports funded under this Act for persons with developmental disabilities residing in the geographic area described in the entity’s designation." This new ‘single point of access’ is the Developmental Services of Ontario (DSO).

Currently in its second year, Developmental Services of Ontario has altered how individuals can access services and funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The following details the process:

•  At age sixteen, an application for services and supports should be initiated with DSO. This involves supplying the following documentation:
o Proof of Canadian Citizenship
o Proof of age
o Proof of Ontario residency
o A psychological assessment signed by a clinical psychologist which includes cognitive and adaptive results
o Current IEP and IPRC

•  Once the application file has been opened, an assessor will be assigned to complete the Ministry’s Application for Developmental Services and Supports (ADSS) and the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) assessments. These two assessments will be conducted through two, two to three hour-long interviews with the individual and two other people who are familiar with the individual and his or her needs.

•  Once the individual has met the requirements for services and the level of services required has been determined by the assessor, the individual will be assigned a case worker through Service Co-ordination. The case worker will work with the student and family to determine appropriate programs and services. The individual can be placed on waiting lists for services as of his or her eighteenth birthday.

Many families, knowing their son or daughter has seven years of secondary school, do not pursue applications for post secondary services after only the second year. But parents/guardians must initiate the process when the student is 16 years of age. The importance of this cannot be understated, as there are long waiting lists for applications to be assessed and even longer waiting lists for services.

Students with developmental and/or physical disabilities will need to make applications to a number of agencies. In preparation for a student reaching the age of 18, applications for income support and employment supports through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) need to be made. Although, ODSP is administered by the same ministry as Developmental Services of Ontario (DSO), a separate application process is required for ODSP support.


Adaptive Learning Program is funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. It provides training and basic literacy and numeracy programs for individuals with disabilities. Because the program is funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and not the Ministry of Community and Social Services, applications are made directly to the program and do not go through DSO.

Causeway Work Centre offers services to individuals with Disabilities who require support with employment opportunities. Like the Adaptive Learning Program, individuals do not need to go through DSO, but can apply directly to Causeway.

Developmental Services Ontario (DSO)
Eastern Region
200-150 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa, ON
K1L 8H2
1-855-376-3737

http://www.dsontario.ca/agencies/dso-eastern

Service Coordination
200-150 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa, ON
K1L 8H2

Crystal Betton-Janes
Case Manager, Adult Services (18 and over)
613-748-1788 x 247
cbetton-janes@scsottawa.on.ca

Emily Newman
Case Manager, Children's Services (under 18)
613-748-1788 x 241
enewman@scsottawa.on.ca

http://www.scsottawa.on.ca

ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program)
Ministry of Community and Social Services
Eastern Region
347 Preston Street 3rd floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 2T7
613-234-1188

http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/

Adaptive Learning Program
Albert Street Education Centre
440 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON
K1R 5B5
613-239-5951
http://www.ocdsb.ca/programs/continuweb/workplaceBasicSkills/WorkplaceBasicSkillsDocs/Adaptive_Learning_Pamphlet.pdf

Causeway Work Centre
22 O’Meara Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1Y 4N6
613-725-3494

http://causewayworkcentre.org/


Community Contacts

Annual Checklist for Transitions

Adaptive Learning Pamphlet

OCDSB Transitions Planning Ages 17-19

OCDSB Transition Planning Ages 14-17

FOCUS on Transition Tip List

Sir Guy Carleton's Post Secondary Transition Planning Form for Parents

Services You Should be Aware of

Parent Resource Guide - Directory

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