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The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is expanding its autism support services, with new programs for toddlers, preschoolers, and teenagers.

In a press release Monday morning, CHEO said it would offer programs that range from first diagnosis to major life transitions, such as finding a first job.

“We want to be there to help families from the difficult time they receive an ASD diagnosis, right through to the exciting moments that teens experience as they embrace their independence and life in the world,” said CHEO vice-president of Child Development and Community Services Monique Lugli. “The aim of our new programs — all our programs, really — is to support families and give these kids the communication and life skills they need to live their best lives.”

Some of the new additions include a virtual "chill and chat" drop-in group for teens, school readiness in COVID-19, and workshops on how to find and prepare for a new or first job.

For toddlers and preschoolers, CHEO will be offering a new "Social ABCs" program aimed at helping parents encourage their child's communication skills. CHEO says its autism therapists are in the final stages of an extensive licensing process for the Social ABCs program and plan to begin scheduling regular sessions in early 2021.

To find out more about all the services offered by CHEO Autism, visit http://cheo.on.ca/autism.