Our Growth Fuelled by Our Vision of Successful Community Inclusion
Geneva Centre for Autism was created in 1974 as a 3-1/2 week residential camp for just 20 children with autism. Named for an international conference on autism that had taken place in Switzerland in 1974, this annual summer camp was the exclusive function of the Centre for the next three years. In 1977, government funding was granted for a follow-up program that allowed staff to travel across Ontario, visiting the homes of camp participants once each month.
This work continued until 1983, when research revealed that while camp participants made great strides during the camp program and monthly visits, they were struggling without continued support throughout the year. At this point, the Centre decided to re-direct its funding to a broader range of year-round non-residential services, and the government was very supportive. In 1984, the transition began. Geneva Centre for Autism started to change from a small-scale residential camp into a full service agency and resource centre.
As a full service agency, Geneva Centre for Autism's commitment to individuals with an ASD and their families have been demonstrated through its tireless work of ensuring evidence-based and best practices in its service delivery. The Centre's programs and services are driven by person-centred philosophy with emphasis on skill-building using evidence-based clinical practices and approaches that recognize the unique needs and strengths of an individual with an ASD. The Centre is guided and supported by its Professional Advisory Council comprised of world-reknowned experts in the field of Autism. Its staff is comprised of qualified professionals with diverse skills, expertise and backgrounds that also reflect the diversity of the individuals and families that the Centre serves.
Geneva Centre for Autism's program and services include early intensive intervention program; speech and language services, occupational therapy and psycho-educational assessments; family education and support that include service coordination, access facilitation, and advocacy; social skill building groups; behaviour/communication services and intervention planning; parent, sibling and peer support groups; transition services; family resource services; adult programs and support groups; respite and so much more.
Whereas skill-building is critical in equipping individuals with an ASD to be active participants in their communities, it is just as important to equip communities to successfully include them. With the Centre’s vision of Successful Community Inclusion, Geneva Centre for Autism created the Training Institute in 1991 to promote community awareness and education on ASD. Only when communities are armed with the knowledge and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders and their impact on individuals and their families can they fully recognize the need for appropriate accommodations and support. Over the years, the Centre has grown to become a recognized leader in developing and implementing training programs on Autism Spectrum Disorders meeting the needs locally, across Canada and internationally.
Today, more than 18,000 people access our services, training programs, and resources each year.