FAQ

Registration FAQ

When can I register my child with autism for Play Groups (online or in-person) programs?

Anytime. Registration is ongoing depending upon program availability. Registration is offered on a first-come, first-served base. Once a program is full, the program is marked so on the website page.

 

What are the fees for the online and in-person programs?

The fees for each program are listed on the corresponding website page. Fees vary depending on the program. The fees are based on the Society’s ability to fund (grant write and fundraise) 2/3 the cost of the programs. Families contribute less than 1/3 the actual cost of the program and are required to use Autism Funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development or DL Funding from the Ministry of Education to pay the fees.

Can I use my child’s Autism Funding for the online and in-person Play Groups programs?

Yes.  The Society will provide you with a filled out request to pay from upon request. Email our coordinator here.

I am out of Autism Funding can I use next year’s funding?

The Ministry of Children and Family Development is very clear about how and when a service provider may bill for services. Therefore, approvals must start when the program begins. Please read through the Autism Funding Guidelines.

Because of the time required to register players, design programs, materials and purchase goods the Society invoices for 2 hours of time for every one-hour session. Therefore, funding is invoiced at the beginning of the program. The Society covers the cost of programs in the later part of the program.

 

Can we get makeup sessions is my child misses a session (online and in-person)?

No. We have a strict no refund, cancellation or session makeup policy.  Given the nature of the programs and the time and financial commitment to the Society to deliver the programs, we do not offer any makeup sessions, refunds or cancellations.

Can I cancel the program once I have registered my novice player (child with autism) for an online and in-person program?

No. Once the program is confirmed we do not accept cancellations. Given the nature of the programs and the time and financial commitment to the Society to deliver the programs, we do not offer any makeup sessions, refunds or cancellations. We ask families to register only if they fully understand and are committed to attending the program.

I would like to register my child, but I am worried about infection due to COVID-19 when attending in-person Play Groups programs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society has taken the following measures to ensure the health and wellness of children, families, staff and the community.

  • Offering more Online Play Groups programs for children ages 6 to 14
  • Shortening to 14-week programs enabling more families the opportunity to attend in-person programs
  • Offering single-family in-person Play Centre Play Groups only (one child with autism and one or two sibling groups only)
  • Spacing in-person Play Centre Play Groups sessions apart by at least 60 minutes for cleaning between groups
  • Reducing the number of adults (play guides) in the play centre to a maximum of 2
  • Checking temperatures at the door
  • Requiring all children to maintain physical distancing or wearing a mask
  • No adults, family members or others permitted in the play centre
  • All staff wearing PPE
  • Reducing surface contact – removing unnecessary equipment in the play centre
  • Strict health policy for children and families as well as staff

Expert Player FAQ

COVID-19 Update

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic attending expert players must be siblings from the same household as the novice player (child with autism). At this time the Society is providing limited in-person Play Centre Play Groups programs only to single-families (one child with autism and one or two siblings from the same household).

What is an expert player?

An expert player is a typically developing sibling with no diagnosis or waiting for an assessment for unique needs (development, learning, mental health). Expert players are limited to siblings from the same household during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

What are the benefits of the program to my expert player?

Research suggests that expert players (typically developing siblings) demonstrate a variety of new and advanced skills due to their participation in the Play Centre programs. These skills include, better communication, leadership, self-help skills, as well as increased empathy toward others.

Why do expert players attend the programs free?

More than 70% of our attending expert players are siblings of children with autism. Therefore, the Society feels that it would be adding an additional financial burden to families of children with autism to charge for expert players. Also, the Society’s philosophy is to educate our community. Therefore, we feel families are more likely to register their children if there is no charge for them to attend.

What are the fees for expert players to attend the Play Centre programs?

None. Expert players attend the Friend 2 Friend Play Centre programs completely free of charge.

How are children matched for the Online Play Groups programs?

Children are matched primarily by age and interests (affinities). During the registration process, we collect information on your child’s unique skills, abilities and interests. We will make suggestions for placement with other players of similar age and interest after registration is received.

Novice Player FAQ

What is a novice player?

A novice player is a child with autism, or a child with unique social, communication and peer play needs. They may or may not have a formal diagnosis.

When can I register my novice player (child with autism) for Play Centre Programs?

Registration for Novice Players, for all programs, is ongoing on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is done online. Registration links are available on the corresponding website page for the program. Once a program is full the options is removed from the website page.

What happens if my child hits, kicks, etc. another child while participating in a Play Centre Play Groups program?

Due to the nature of the Play Centre Play Groups programs, children who exhibit aggressive behaviours towards themselves or others are not ready for the Play Centre programs. You are required to disclose all of your child’s regulatory needs at the time of registration. Please see our policies section in the Play Centre Programs Parent Handbook.

How do I know if a play centre or online play groups program is right for my child before I register?

Our programs and our Society are unique. Therefore, we offer a registration process that includes a free online family course and a conversation with our Intake Coordinator before registration. We make every effort to ensure that families completely understand the services offered as part of a Play Centre program. 

Does my child have to be diagnosed with autism to attend a Play Centre or Online Play Groups program as a novice player?

No. Any child with unique social, communication and peer play needs are welcome to register and attend our Play Groups programs as a novice player.

May I register my child novice player even if I don’t have an expert player?

Our Play Centre Play Groups programs do require families of novice players to register a sibling as an expert player (from the same household). 

Our Online Play Groups do not require families of novice players to register an expert player. 

How are children matched for the online play groups programs?

Children are matched primarily by age and interests (affinities), including skills and abilities. During the registration process, we collect information on your child’s unique skills, abilities and interests. If we feel the program you have chosen is not a good fit, we will make suggestions for placement in another group.

Is the online program as good as the in person program?

Yes. The online program follows exactly the same models, using the same principals and practices as the Play Centre Play Groups programs. In fact, after spending the last few months testing our Online Play Groups programs we have noticed that many children who have sensory or transitional needs, do better with the online format. This is because they experience less sensory overload or do not experience the anxiety that transitions may cause.