Caregiver-Mediated Programs

Caregiver-mediated early years programs help young children learn new skills and meet individualized goals in the areas of social communication and play, and build caregiver capacity to support their children. These programs are offered to children registered in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) who are between the ages of 1-3 years (12-48 months).

KidsAbility is funded through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to provide the following caregiver-mediated early years programs:

  • Early Social Interaction / Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports (ESI/SCERTS)
  • Social ABCs
Parents or caregivers can choose to request caregiver-mediated early years services from KidsAbility. Together, we will work on therapeutic strategies and specific techniques based on their child’s individual needs. Services are free of charge and you will not need to use any of your OAP funding for these programs. Your child's position on the OAP waitlist will be maintained for entry into core clinical services in the new needs-based program.

The focus is on building parents’ and caregivers’ capacity to support their child’s skill development in the following areas:

  • social interaction
  • play
  • communication
  • emotional
  • development
  • adaptive development and self-help skills

How to Register

Children enrolled in the Ontario Autism Program who have received an Invitation Letter to the Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services are eligible for caregiver-mediated early years programs.

Please visit the ministry’s website at: Ontario.ca/autism to review specific program information, identify which service providers are offering each program, and choose your preferred program for your child.


If you have general questions about caregiver-mediated early years programs, you can contact the Central Resource Team at 1-888-444 4530 or email oap@ontario.ca.

If you have specific questions about the programs to help you determine which program is best suited to support the needs of your child, and to discuss your child’s eligibility, please contact KidsAbility’s Intake Team.


Early Social Interaction / Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports (ESI/SCERTS)

The ESI/SCERTS program is an evidence-based intervention program that is based on the principles of child development and Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

With ESI/SCERTS, the parent/caregiver receives coaching and support in developing their child’s social communication skills. Coaches work with the parent/caregiver using everyday family routines and activities with your child such as:

  • Play (peek-a-boo, songs, hide and seek) and with props (balls, blanket, swing),
  • Meals and snacks (setting the table, clean up)
  • Caregiving activities (bathing, diaper changes, handwashing)
  • Play with toys (blocks, puzzles, playdough, pretend play)
  • Family chores (picking up, getting the mail)
  • Books (shapes, colours, numbers)
  • Transitions from one activity to another
The coach will guide and support the parents/caregivers throughout the program, helping them engage their child by following their child’s focus of interest and by keeping activities predictable. This highly motivating for the child and allows the parent/caregiver to gain the confidence to improve their child’s communication, social skills, play skills, self-help and motor skills.

Ages: 12-36 months at start of intervention

Eligibility: Children enrolled in the Ontario Autism Program who have received an Invitation Letter to the Caregiver-Mediated Early Years
Programs from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services 
How to Register: Beginning Summer 2021 

Social ABCs

Social ABCs is an evidence-based, caregiver-mediated intervention for toddlers who have social communication difficulties. It is based on a combination of developmental and behavioural principles and focuses on improving a toddler’s use of vocalizations to communicate and sharing positive emotions with others. Opportunities for teaching and learning come from the toddler’s natural interests during playtime and day-to-day caregiving routines. Parents or other primary caregivers work with a trained Social ABCs coach to learn the intervention strategies in their child’s natural environment, using play-based activities and daily routines that their child finds most motivating.


Ages:12-42 months at start of intervention
Eligibility: Children enrolled in the Ontario Autism Program who have received an Invitation Letter to the Caregiver-Mediated Early Years Programs from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
How to Register: Beginning Fall 2021