Help Create more Equitable Autism Services

The SAAAC Autism Centre is interested in working with multiple stakeholders to create more equitable practices to serve individuals on the autism spectrum from culturally diverse communities in Ontario.

Previous Work

In collaboration with the Children’s Treatment Network, SAAAC created an accessible digital toolkit titled “Towards Cultural Competence: Communication for Diagnosticians when working with South Asian and Black Families impacted by Autism.” This toolkit, designed in collaboration with community agencies, provides tips, tools, and strategies for Ontario’s Diagnostic Hub. The toolkit places the families’ voices at the centre and recommends diagnosticians facilitate a culturally competent approach to autism diagnoses.

Expanding theToolkit

To continue with our ongoing work, we wish to provide cultural competence training for diagnosticians, specifically in the context of Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tagalog-speaking families.

Through this training, diagnosticians will have a better understanding of the barriers these families face, the concerns with the current screening/diagnostic tools used, and strategies to more effectively communicate with families to improve retention of families throughout the diagnostic and treatment pathways.

We Need your Support

For this toolkit, we wish to connect with community agencies providing services to Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tagalog-speaking families who have gone through or are going through the Autism diagnostic process in Ontario.

Agencies would have conversations with parents/caregivers/family members one-on-one using a standard questionnaire (provided by SAAAC). These conversations aim to capture the lived experiences of Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tagalog families/caregivers with children with autism.

Their voices will help inform the recommendations made to diagnosticians on how to make the diagnostic journey culturally competent.


If you are interested in working with us, please connect with Dr. Shivajan Sivapalan by emailing

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