How we got started.

AIDE Canada grew out of a need for better and increased access to trusted, accurate, and useful information, resources and supports for individuals with lived experience of autism and/or intellectual disability, their families and those who care for them. Over a decade ago, a Senate Report (“Pay Now or Pay Later,” 2007) called for change in how Canada supports families living with autism. A number of reports since have echoed and expanded this call, pointing out the regional disparities when it comes to serving the autism and/or intellectual disability community.  An urban-rural divide also limits the services, resources, and supports available to Canadians living in rural or remote areas.

Employment and Social Development Canada published a report (“Accessible Canada,” 2017) highlighting the need for information about autism and/or intellectual disability to be understandable and presented in a way that is accessible to all people.

AIDE Canada is designed to meet this need by creating a network both online, and in person for individuals and families from all backgrounds and regions across Canada to connect and learn about autism and intellectual disability. With a focus on accessibility and making use of current technology, AIDE Canada seeks to address these gaps in knowledge and resources by sharing the latest research about autism and/or intellectual disability in clear terms, and bring together the latest evidence-informed resources and tools in one place, accessible to all.

Our Timeline

AIDE Canada has created an on-line platform on which we can share information and resources with our community. We are working hard for our community by developing and expanding the content available on the platform. This timeline illustrates the development and implementation of the project, as well as next steps and future pathways.

  • Research & Outreach
    Winter 2019
    Discover

    Discovering the needs of the autism and/or intellectual disability community through community and expert focus groups in January and February, 2019

  • Summer 2019
    National Survey

    We sponsored a national survey on informational needs and priorities of Canadians related to autism and intellectual disabilities

  • Fall 2019
    Website Planning

    Designing the features of the web platform and determining the best way to create the most useful and user friendly site for our community

  • Implementation
    Winter 2020
    Initial Information Site

    Initial web platform up and running; Hub RFP sent out

  • Spring 2020
    Hub Network

    AIDE teams up with local providers across Canada to improve local resources, support, and information

  • Summer 2020
    Community Consultation

    Diving deeper into the needs of the autism and/or intellectual disability community through additional community focus groups and a second national survey

  • Fall 2020
    Full Website Launch

    The full version of the AIDE Canada website and the nation-wide materials lending library were both launched in September of 2020

Principles Guiding AIDE Canada

Canada is neurodiverse.  Individuals with lived experience of autism and/or intellectual disability, as well as their families, have a right to enjoy their lives and thrive. This community needs access to information, services, supports, and opportunities, including education and employment. The rights of our community members must be respected. Everyone has a different developmental pathway and timeline, and each individual should be supported to reach their goals and potential.

As we move forward, the following values guide our selection of information and other AIDE Canada services:

Person and family focus: Promotion of choice and quality of life in addressing the information and support needs of individuals and families.

Inclusive communities: All diversities are respected, and individuals deserve to truly belong, and thus feel welcomed, valued, and supported.

Lifespan and pan-regional: Content and other resources offered span all ages and regions.

Focus on needs: The primary audience of AIDE Canada is individuals with lived experience of autism and/or intellectual disability, their families and those who care for them. We are focused on what they deem to be important and needed.

Evidence-informed: A range of important types of evidence is valued and will be shared:

  • Experiential knowledge: the knowledge that comes from being a person who self-identifies as autistic, a person with lived experience of autism and/or intellectual disability, and/or the family member of one or more of these individuals.
  • Empirical knowledge: derived from randomized controlled trials and observational studies
  • Ecosystem knowledge: population-level data from studies of prevalence, environments, and health care or other “systems”
  • Expert knowledge: from practitioners or professional bodies proposed with or without an explicit consensus process
  • Interactive knowledge and perspectives: person-to-person engagement and mutual learning are valued in sharing and learning together

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