Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs

Program Overview

Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs support families with young children ages 12 months to 48 months (4 years). The programs help young children learn new skills and meet individualized goals.

Through these programs, parents and caregivers learn therapeutic strategies and specific techniques from professionals based on their child’s individual needs. The programs aim to build parents’ and caregivers’ capacity to support their child’s skill development in:

  • social interaction
  • play
  • communication
  • emotional development
  • adaptive development and self-help skills

The programs are play-based, child-led and developmentally appropriate. Programs are free of charge and available for up to six months per child.


The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and / or Access OAP is sending invitations to all eligible families. You MUST receive an invitation before you can sign up for Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Services.

Most children who are 12 to 48 months old and registered in the Ontario Autism Program are eligible to receive Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs.

If your child is receiving core clinical services or has an active behaviour plan, you’re not eligible to receive Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs.

Children who are receiving Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs can receive other Ontario Autism Program supports (other than OAP core clinical services), special needs supports and/or early intervention programs at the same time. For example, your child can receive foundational family services at the same time as a Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Program.

Types of programs


Service providers offer one or more of the following six Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs. Eligible families can access these programs for free.

To get more information about the programs you’re interested in, you can contact services providers who are offering the programs. You can find out which service providers are offering which programs on the Ontario Autism Program: Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs website.

Child & Community Resources in collaboration with our partners, offer the following programs:


Pivotal response treatment (PRT)

For: children 12 to 48 months (4 years) at start of intervention

Pivotal response treatment (PRT) is an evidence-based intervention program that uses applied behaviour analysis (ABA) principles. PRT uses your child’s motivation to teach communication and social engagement. You will learn the core strategies of the program so that you can use it in day-to-day routines and interactions with your child.

The program targets many skills, including eye contact, requesting, turn taking, play skills, and how to gain your child’s attention using a range of strategies.


Project ImPACT

For: children 12 to 48 months (4 years) at start of intervention

Project ImPACT (Improving Parents as Communication Teachers) will help you and your child increase social communication, imitation and play skills throughout daily routines.

Highly qualified professionals will coach you as the expert on your child. Together, you and the trainer will develop priority goals and activities to support your child’s learning throughout the day.

Project ImPACT uses a combination of developmental and behavioural strategies to increase social communication skills in four main areas: social engagement, language, social imitation and play.