Ottawa Autism Roadmap – New & Improved

Hi everyone!

We’ve been busy making some improvements to the Ottawa Autism Roadmap and we want to share them with you.

The main changes are:

– Reduction in number of pages making it more concise

– A separate page listing all the services and supports you need during and after diagnosis.

You can view the new roadmap and support document here.

We hope you will find it useful! Please contact us anytime with comments and feedback,

The Moms at AAO


Coming soon…

Many of you have seen our first roadmap called the “Ottawa Autism Roadmap” which was geared towards the pre-diagnosis and diagnosis phase of autism. Since that time we have been researching and putting together a roadmap for school aged children and their parents to help navigate through life in the school system. This road map will be applicable to all children with special needs, not just autism. The goals are the following :

– provide a general visual roadmap for parents to use as a guide during the school year.
– provide important information about laws, policies, services and tools that parents may not otherwise know about.
– to empower parents to take control of their child’s experience at school to help the child achieve their highest potential.
– to make life easier and less stressful for the entire family!

We are currently working very hard and putting the finishing touches on this document! We will be releasing it very early in September. Please stay tuned to this site, our Facebook page or our Twitter page to stay informed.

As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback.

Warm regards,
The Moms at AAO


Upcoming Ontario election : Going online with awareness


There is a lot of great awareness and advocacy work being done online, all thanks to social media and the internet! This is great for busy parents because a lot of work can be done from home or your smart phone.

Here are some great avenues to create awareness and get the conversation about disabilities going while online.

Social Media: Most politicians on are on Twitter. Try interacting with them on twitter so others may join into your conversation. Here are a few Twitter usernames to get you started:

MPP List for the Ottawa area:

CHEO Hospital Ottawa: Consider making a few small postings on Facebook so your family and friends can have a window into your world. Answer any questions they have, or reply to their comments. If you’d like to do more, create your very own awareness page or group, invite your friends and start discussions! Seek out local support groups on Facebook to find other parents to talk to and ask questions! Some examples are: Video is a powerful medium. Many families have created videos of their experience with their child. Some local Ottawa examples include:

Contact your politicians by email:

Here is a list of people you can contact, depending on which level of government you are dealing with:

  • Your municipal government, City of Ottawa – Jim Watson, Mayor.



  • Your provincial government, The Premier of Ontario – Kathleen Wynne.




  • Your local MPP (provincial):

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur (Ottawa-Vanier)

Email :


Yasir Naqvi (Ottawa Centre)



Phil McNeely (Ottawa-Orléans)



Hon. John Fraser (Ottawa South)



Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton)



Hon. Bob Chiarelli (Ottawa West-Nepean)



Jack Maclaren (Carleton-Mississippi Mills)



Grant Crack (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell)



  • Ministry Heads (provincial):

– Ministry of Children & Youth Services – Teresa Piruzza



– Ministry of Health – Deb Matthews



Federal Government, Prime Minister, Stephen Harper



Federal Government, Minister of Health Canada, Rona Ambrose



Write them a letter in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. Try and describe how the issue you are experiencing is affecting your family on a personal and day-to-day level. It may take a while but they have to respond.

How do YOU create awareness? Have you ever written to a politician? Did you hear back? Have you ever spoken to one in person? We’d love to hear your experience. Please comment below, or email us at:



Parents of children with special needs have been described as unpaid social workers, teachers, advocates, therapists and administrative assistant all wrapped up in one! There’s no doubt, it’s a big and important job. Staying organized and on top of your child’s paperwork requires you to be proactive, but it is something that you will appreciate in the long run. Here are a few tips to make your life a little easier:

1)   The binder. Run to your nearest dollar store and get a binder and some dividing tabs. Cheap but effective! (See picture below) Divide everything into subject matter and bring it to all appointments to access information in mere seconds. Wow the professionals with your organizational skills! All joking aside, having your child’s records in perfect order really helps out when sitting in appointments and someone needs a photocopy of a report or diagnosis letter. An added bonus is one less thing to stress about!


2)   The calendar. Whether it’s the one on your phone or an old fashioned appointment book, make sure it is up-to-date at all times. Don’t wait to write an appointment on the calendar. I often take my phone calls in front of our kitchen calendar and mark appointments in as I talk. On Sunday night take a quick look at your week ahead and remind everyone what is happening that week.

3)   The appointments. You are going to get a lot of phone calls from doctors, therapists, professionals and government agencies. Get a pen and piece of paper and record the following information when taking calls:

– time and date of call

– name of the person you spoke with

– name of the agency

– what is your appointment going to be about?

– who is the appointment going to be with?

– approximately how long will the appointment last?

– should I bring anything?

– what kind of services can I expect to receive?

– any other questions you may have.

Have some great organizational tips to add to our list? Please comment below, or email us at:

The Moms at AAO

Awareness – How are we doing?


As a parent of a child with special needs you have probably realized by now that a large percentage of the population do not understand your family’s situation. Even close friends and family may not understand your child’s condition entirely. So, how do you create awareness without feeling like you’re up on a soapbox? Here are some ideas:ribbon

  1. Recommend some web sites they can read.
  2. Buy them a book (One very effective one for autism is “10 Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew” by Ellen Notbohm) Please let us know if you have any other great book ideas!
  3. Make an offer to answer any questions they may have – no judgement, no pressure!
  4. Show them ways to interact with your child to create a positive experience. Be respectful, patient and kind.

What about when you’re out in public and you get the “stare”? I’ve heard many ideas of things you can do, or not do. Here are some examples. Find one that works for you!

  1. Make small business cards or flyers with information about your child’s condition and pass it to the person. Including a web site may be helpful.
  2. Wear T-shirts, ribbons, hats, jewelry or other awareness items for your child’s condition and hope someone asks about it. Have a quick 30 second “elevator speech” prepared when people ask you questions.
  3. Ask the person politely if they have any questions about autism/cerebral palsy/Down Syndrome etc.
  4. Do nothing! Continue about your day and be happy.
  5. Smile and say hello and wait to see if they approach you.

Whatever you choose, remember to be positive and respectful. Please let us know if you have any other great ideas for creating positive awareness. We’d love to hear about them.

How do YOU create awareness? Please comment below, or email us at: