Transitioning to adulthood is an important juncture that often presents challenges for autistic youth and adults. Yet it is a different experience for everyone.
As is the case for many government-funded services, once a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) reaches a certain age, the support available to them changes. In most Canadian provinces, children transition into the adult service program on their 18th birthday, some on their 19th birthday.
Transition planning typically begins between the ages of 12 and 16 years old. Entering adulthood can be stressful, and needing to understand a brand new set of government-funded supports and services can be overwhelming.
This page provides information about the government-funded services and supports available to adults living with ASD. It is organized by province and territory. We are hopeful that a robust understanding of what resources are available – in the transition period and beyond – is helpful to individuals and families.
Please note that the age at which a child becomes eligible for adult resources is different across the country. You will find one separate toolkit for each province and territory.
This page outlines government-funded supports and services available to adults (19 years or older) with autism living in the province of British Columbia.
In British Columbia, there are three main funding programs available:
- Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD)
- Community Living BC
- General Disability Assistance
The Government of British Columbia offers transition planning support for young people with developmental disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood through a program called Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD).
The STADD program assigns a young adult (as young as age 16) with a Navigator who will help plan for the future and assist with the journey to adulthood. Navigators offer personalized support geared to a particular individual’s goals and needs.
Navigators will meet with a child and their family to discuss goals, hopes and dreams for the future. They will then connect the young adult with the supports and services they need to reach these goals.
With a Navigator, one can:
● Identify future goals
● Talk about the prospect of attending post-secondary education, other training and/or finding a job
● Plan where one wants to live
● Discuss hobbies, desired activities and strengths
● Bring together supports one might already have
● Find government and community services that are suitable
● Identify other people who can help
A Navigator can also help an individual navigate the service provision environment, in this case, offering to help apply for services like Community Living BC and other provincial programs.
In the province of British Columbia, specialized autism funding is provided to families of children under the age of 19. However, when a child reaches their 19th birthday, they are no longer eligible for the same funding support.
Community Living BC, known as CLBC, is a provincial crown corporation that funds supports and services to adults with developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. CLBC is funded through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. It’s important to note that CLBC services aren’t a direct continuation of autism funding, and they are not autism specific.
CLBC services are provided through a network of service providers and include employment, community inclusion, housing and respite supports.
Through a program called the Personalized Supports Initiative, CLBC supports adults with a diagnosis of ASD who need significant help with day-to-day tasks.
CLBC introduced the Personalized Supports Initiative (PSI) in February 2010 to provide supports which are separate from the CLBC services for people with developmental disabilities. PSI provides services to adults who have both significant limitations in adaptive functioning and either a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
What does the Personalized Supports Initiative do?
PSI provides an individualized and personalized approach to meeting the needs of eligible adults by coordinating existing community supports to help people maintain or increase their independence. PSI augments, rather than replaces, existing support. Where necessary, PSI may provide funding for supports such as supported living, respite, employment support, skill development, homemaker services, and development of support networks.
How does the Personalized Supports Initiative work?
Individuals or their families may apply by contacting a facilitator responsible for PSI at a CLBC office in their region. The facilitator will confirm eligibility, assess the individual’s needs, and work with them and their support network to create an individual plan. The facilitator will coordinate the supports needed with other agencies or community members. Where community supports are unavailable, the facilitator may assist the family in obtaining individualized funding or contract with a community agency to provide the supports required.
CLBC funds a variety of residential supports that allow people to select an option that is a good fit for their current support needs and preferences. In order to confirm eligibility, one must meet with a CLBC facilitator.
Residential support might be the only CLBC-funded support an individual receives, depending on needs as assessed by professionals and their assigned CLBC facilitator. Program components are as follows:
● Support is offered with activities of daily living from someone who visits an individual in their own home (owned, leased, or rented)
● A home is shared with someone who is contracted to provide an individual with ongoing residential support (could be an individual, a couple or a family)
● An individual lives in a home that is shared with others and receives support with activities of daily living from staff who work at scheduled times throughout the day and night.
Applying for CLBC:
- For youth already receiving Ministry of Children and Family Development specialized autism funding (over 6 category), families are instructed to contact their MCFD worker for assistance in applying to the STADD Transition Planning Program
- For adults, the first step is to contact a CLBC facilitator who can outline documentation needed and the approved professionals who may complete the assessments and documents required.
You can find your nearest CLBC office here. Once a CLBC facilitator in your local office has confirmed that an individual is eligible for support, a meeting will be arranged during which the facilitator will begin the welcome and planning process.
General Disability Assistance
In order to be eligible for general disability assistance in B.C., an individual must be designated as a Person with Disabilities (PWD). If an individual is already receiving benefits and supports from an agency like CLBC, there is a simplified application process to be designated as a PWD.
The current monthly amounts for eligible individuals are as follows:
- Up to $1,183.42 if you are single
- Up to $2,073.06 if you and your spouse have the Persons with Disabilities designation
- Up to $1,609.08 if you are a single-parent family with two children
For those living in a CLBC-funded residence:
- One may get up to $1,183.42 per month in disability assistance
- This is the maximum disability assistance rate for a single person as of April 1, 2019
- From this $1,183.42, an individual pays their CLBC service provider $716.13 per month for basic living costs
- This leaves them with up to $467.29 for personal expenses.