CASDA – Canadian Autism Leadership Summit 2017

By: Robin Brennan, Director of Autism Services, and Ola Kusnierz, Program Manager – ABA Services and Supports

CASDA is the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, a coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to developing a comprehensive National Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Framework. Woodview has been a voting member of CASDA for four years.

CASDA hosts a Leadership Summit each year to engage service providers, researchers, self-advocates, families, and policy makers in discussions to share information about provincial diversity, national initiatives, community based services, and research in the ASD field.

This year’s Summit was held in Ottawa from April 3rd to 5th and included presentations by Senator Jim Munson and MP Mike Lake, as well as a reception on Parliament Hill.

The Summit began with a select group of registrants tackling key areas of employment for youth and adults with autism. Discussion groups brainstormed the core skills job coaches require, possible accreditation of job coaches, development and assessment of key skills for job readiness, as well as reviewing the current national employment initiatives. The opportunity for participation in national working groups was also presented.

Woodview’s Job Train Program, in collaboration with MacART and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), garnered much interest from across the country. The Job Train Program teaches 15 to 17 year olds with ASD work readiness skills through a 12 week Job Club, while providing 8 weeks of paid job coach supported summer employment at McMaster University.

Dr. Jonathan Weiss was the highlight of day two. He presented his work to date as the Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research. Dr.Weiss’ research focuses on the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in people with ASD, including cognitive-behavioural and social skill interventions to promote resilience and improve the mental health of children and adults with ASD.

The Secret Agent Society, an evidence based intervention for 8-12 year olds developed by Dr. Renae Beaumont at the University of Queensland in Australia, was featured as having excellent outcomes for children with ASD experiencing difficulties with anger, sadness / depression, and /or anxiety .

My Mind, mindfulness training for adolescents with ASD and their parents, was another intervention presented by Dr. Weiss that is having positive results.

The Summit ended with a day filled with break-out groups discussing promising practices under four themes: Employment Readiness and Transition; Family Supports and Navigation; Building Community Capacity; and Community Engagement and Quality of Life.

The Summit was a wonderful opportunity to learn, share, and connect with people from across Canada while representing Woodview and promoting our ASD programs.


Robin Brennan, Director of Autism Services with Dr Stelios Georgiades and Dr Briano DeRiezzi from MacART
at the CASDA leadership summit in Ottawa, presenting the Job Train Program poster.

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PROGRAM Profile: DANO (Day Treatment for Adolescents and New Opportunities) and Mountaineer


By: Wendy Caron, Program Manager

When I began writing this profile, I started out just talking about DANO, but quickly found that DANO and Mountaineer are so linked that I couldn’t speak of one without the other. Without DANO, there would be no Mountaineer, and vice versa. They are sister programs, and the teams work that way.


The program was founded in 2009. The team at the Burlington Junior Day Treatment Program noted a considerable number of their clients presenting with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In response to this need, the Junior Day Treatment program transitioned to an anxiety based program for students in grades 7 and 8. At this same time, Transitions for Youth was unable to continue funding the Mountaineer program, so Woodview took the opportunity to enter into a partnership with the Halton Children’s Aid Society to provide staffing so the Mountaineer program could continue. It didn’t take long to see that the number and acuity of students in secondary school was overwhelming, and so DANO (Day Treatment for Adolescents and New Opportunities) changed once again to meet the community need.

Who We Serve

We now have DANO and Mountaineer offering programming to secondary students presenting with depression, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidal ideation. We have 8 students in each program.

DANO & Mountaineer Staff

Each Day Treatment program has a teacher, two Child and Youth Counsellors CYCs, and a Social Worker shared between them.


  • Check-in, chit chat, and share articles of interest in the newspaper (this teaches conversation skills, voicing your opinion, initiates peer support, and develops self-reflection and insight). Okay, it’s fun too.
  • Two academic periods and two therapeutic periods for the duration of the day.
  • The program is semestered.
    • Semester One/Phase One: Students attend every day, all day.
    • Phase Two: Students attend the program in the mornings, their community schools in the afternoon for two academic periods.
    • Phase Three: We offer monthly follow up, as a group and/or individually or as a family.
  • We have Phase One and Phase Two students mixed in the program at one time.
  • The therapeutic programming consists of DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) skills and comprehensive DBT, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) including exposure therapy, Social Skills and Healthy Living (cooking, nutrition, relaxation and physical activity), Pet therapy, ADAPT program, and individual support when transitioning to community schools.
  • A Parent Group is offered in the evening on a weekly basis, for 8 weeks each Phase. This is a DBT skills and process group.
  • Family therapy occurs with each family every two weeks.

Stand Out Memory

The Open House and the Graduation ceremonies are some of the most emotionally moving times for the staff and clients. To hear from potential clients at the Open House that they are hopeful for their future, because they just heard a same-aged student share his/her story. To hear parents say thank you to the staff, for helping them “get their kid back”. And at graduation to see the kids cry with pride, and hug the staff goodbye…the same staff they hated a short 10 months ago. Like all of us, with our individual programs…these are the times we work for.

Referral Process

While the majority of referrals continue to come from the School Boards, we also get family initiated referrals, as well as referrals from local psychiatrists, physicians, and the treatment programs (CAPIS and REACH) at Halton Health Care. We host an Open House each semester, which allows interested and reluctant referrals an opportunity to meet the staff, watch our short video about the program, and hear from students and parents who have participated in the program.

Quirky Fact

Once a month, the two programs get together where they do a shared activity such as apple picking, Christmas crafts, hiking, bowling, or go to a restaurant all together for breakfast. This gives all students opportunities to use their DBT skills as they are placed in uncomfortable social situations.

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Golf Tournaments June 2017!

Join us at one of our annual Golf Tournaments this June, generously hosted by the Jeff Roche & Hannah Gordon-Roche Memorial Foundation and the Brant Business Builders!


Proceeds support the Woodview Learning Centre and Camp Unity!


8th Annual Jeff Roche & Hannah-Gordon Roche Memorial Golf Tournament

Camp Unity Annual Golf Tournament


Saturday, June 3, 2017
Lowville Golf Club
2662 Britannia Road
Burlington, ON

Thursday, June 15, 2017
The Oaks of St. George Golf Club
269 German School Road
Brant, ON

Click flyer below for details!

Gord Roche Memorial Golf Tournament Poster 2017 - FINAL

Click flyer below for details!

BBB-2017-Golf-Fundraiser (2)


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Your Guide BRANT: Spring / Summer 2017

Your Guide is a Community Resource Booklet filled with free courses, workshops, events, and group services for families, children, and teens.

Click here to access the May – August issue of Your Guide BRANT

Click here to access the May – August issue of Your Guide Haldimand & Norfolk

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Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services
69 Flatt Road
Burlington, ON L7P 0T3

Halton: (905) 689-4727
Hamilton: (905) 689-4727
Brant: (519) 752-5308
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