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DSO question

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    Hi there,

    I have a question about DSO funding for those with ASD.

    I am considered ‘high functioning’. I was not diagnosed until age 22 or so.

    A few years ago, I contacted DSTO to get more information about DSO funding. I was not formally assessed and did not formally apply, but received a formal rejection letter anyway due to being ‘too high functioning’.

    Though I do not have an intellectual disability, I do have multiple mental health disabilities as well. These combined with the ASD mean that I am underemployed, have difficulty with executive functioning, and struggle a lot with anxiety and depression.

    At some point I was told by someone associated with Autism Ontario (I think) that no intellectual disability needs to be present to be eligible for DSO if mental health problems also exist.

    Can anyone clarify for me if this is true, and if so, are there any specific steps I should take if I reapply?



    Dear Wolfie,

    Thank you for your question. Those with a developmental disability in Ontario would need to be individually assessed by Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) to determine eligibility by contacting them and following the intake process. The assessment is based on three areas: Cognitive functioning, Adaptive functioning and age of onset.

    The Application Entity advises the individual in writing whether the individual is eligible for Ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports in accordance with the Act and Regulation. If you feel this was not completed you can request a reassessment. Please review the link below for more information from DSO on eligibility.

    There are various support options in Toronto that do not require being eligible for DSO. This may include funded and fee for service options. Since you are interested in employment opportunities I would suggest the Ready, Willing and Able program ( For other services in the community that may not require DSO eligibility please feel free to call me at Kerry’s Place Autism Services at 416-537-2000 or review additional services at

    Regards, Erica Hamilton


      Hi Wolfie,
      If you are looking for fee for service options, here are a couple of resources:

      1. MyCommunityHub is an online registration space for activities, classes, programs, workshops, respite and camps offered by Developmental Service Agencies across Ontario.
      2. Fee for Service Program Directory contains Community Participation Support, Caregiver Respite and Person-Directed Planning Support listings for transitional age youth and adults that may be purchased using Ministry of Community and Social Services “Passport” funding or personal funds. Cost varies based on an individual’s support needs and program activities.

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