Special Needs Programs for Kids With Autism in Toronto & The GTA

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School and program closures were difficult for everyone, but for a lot of children with special needs, these disruptions were really felt.

When your child is on the autism spectrum, it can be difficult to find programming that is tailored to their needs. But this list of centres and programs are all designed for children with autism, so you can find a program that works for their specific needs.

Here are 7 programs in Toronto and the GTA for children with autism.

House of Development

The House of Development, based in Vaughan, offers virtual/online programs, home-based pods, and in-person programs and camps for families of children displaying signs of autism or with an autism diagnosis. Therapists employ two key methodologies, the Miller Method and the Greenspan FloorTime Approach, to help children reach their full potential.

The Autism Centre of Toronto 

Offering a variety of programs from individualized support within your child’s school to centre-based programs, The Autism Centre of Toronto is a not-for-profit organization serving children on the autism spectrum in Toronto. All of TACT’s programming is guided by Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and is designed to teach skills in the areas of Communication, Social Skills, Play, Daily Living, Safety, Self-Management, and School Readiness. They are located in Deer Park.

Autism in Mind

Located in Markham, Autism in Mind is an autism school for children with special needs. They offer 1-on-1 therapy and have a variety of programs that give children on the spectrum a chance to socialize. Their social programs include school readiness, holiday camps, emotional regulation, after school care, and social skills. And all programs—even social skills programs—are kept to a low ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 adults to children.

Under the Umbrella Tree Educational Services 

Known for their wonderful summer, winter, and March break camps, Under the Umbrella Tree Educational Services has been open in Toronto since 2012. They have grown into a full-service educational centre that offers behaviour intervention services, early intervention preschool programs, and school-aged special education classrooms. Their camps offer two different options in terms of instructors—1:1 model (1 teacher for 1 student), or a 2:3 model (2 teachers for every 3 students).

Giant Steps

At Giant Steps, they believe a coordinated, comprehensive approach of specialized academics, direct therapies and inclusion will best meet the complex learning needs of children with autism. Along with their educational and academic programs, they deliver three core therapy programs—speech, behaviour and occupational therapies that address play/social skills and daily living skills. Serving Toronto and the York Region.

Beyond the Door Behaviour Associates 

Committed to helping children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder develop their communication, intellectual, physical, behavioural, and social skills, Beyond the Door offers ABA/IBI home-based programming. The ABLLS-R and VB-MAPP assessments are used as a guide in developing their individualized programs and family members are involved in every stage of the program development process.

Bright Star Academy

Located in North York, Bright Star Academy is a private school for students that require additional support in academics, communication, social skills, and functional daily living skills.

Bright Star Academy offers school-based options for children 4 to adult. They have a school-readiness program as well as programs for primary and middle school years. They have 1:1 therapy programs as well as summer camps and a dedicated social skills program. They also recently began offering online parent coaching sessions.


Water safety is important for all children, and arguably even more so for children with autism. These specifically designed swimming lessons for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder teach children to swim but also provide a social outlet for kids with autism and can improve their coordination, speech, social interactions, and cognitive processing.

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Do you know of any other programs for children on the autism spectrum? Comment below and we will add them to our list of programs!

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