A centralized, multi-disciplinary team of experts

Our team includes Behaviour Analysts (Senior Therapists), Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists and Physiotherapists. Portia was founded because we strongly believe that a centre that centralizes these fields of expertise is the best solution for your child’s development. We work in close collaboration, ensuring that we can thoroughly assess and understand your child’s needs.

A customized program for every child

We will fully assess your child, then create a tailored program to fit their needs. Portia uses several scientifically-validated methodologies to build a curriculum for your child across all stages of development (e.g. Verbal Behaviour, Early Start Denver Model, Pivotal Response Training).

Our unique approach is designed so your child meets their full potential through individualized program development. Research demonstrates that intensive one-to-one teaching using the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) will enhance a child’s skills in all areas of development. Our comprehensive programs focus on communication, language development, social skills, life skills and adaptive behaviours.

Family involvement at every step of the process

Parent involvement is the cornerstone of our program. We emphasize interaction with your child as well as learning important techniques to maximize learning in the home and the community to ensure consistent, positive behaviour. You will be provided with hands-on training in the home, opportunities to observe live sessions, participate in workshops and attend monthly progress meetings. Working together with you as well as educators and professionals in all areas of your child’s life, we will continuously strive to enable a better future for them.

Portia’s Centre-based Programming

  • opportunity for increased social opportunities and group learning skills, essential for school readiness
  • high-intensity supervision from on-site senior therapists and clinical supervisors

Parent-run Program (Hiring Instructor Therapists and Senior Therapists Privately)

  • high therapist turnover, wasting time and money training new therapists
  • program will most often not be as highly supervised as it should be

If you are a parent who has struggled to run their own program, you will see a significant rise in quality and satisfaction with the centre-based program at The Portia Learning Centre. You will have more peace-of-mind with the knowledge that our team of experts has your child in the best of care.

Option 1. Seek IBI Service Provider

Option 2. IBI therapy is expensive; however, you can seek training and work with your child one on one; implementing programs designed by professionals. Please contact us for more information.

> If you have insurance coverage investigate your plans’ Psychological, Speech and Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist coverage and limits

> Call OCTC Intake and register for free services through the QuickStart Program 613-737-0871 ext 4425

> Call Service Coordination Intake and set up an appointment to discuss how they can help you navigate the system. (i.e. funding options, service providers, respite, etc.) www.scsottawa.on.ca
Service Coordination : Funded by Ministry of Community and Social Services. Provide case management, information about services and supports, and access to referrals. “Worker bank” to help families funded by SSAH (Special Services at Home) or ACSD (Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities) locate special needs workers. They can help with respite and group home placement.

> Call AIPEO (Autism Intervention Program of Eastern Ontario) and ensure your child is on the wait list for Ontario Government Funding (there are two lists, Direct Service Option and Direct Funding Option, ensure your child is on both)

Autism Intervention Program
1661 Montreal Road Ottawa ON K1J 9B7

> Investigate workshops (http://ottawaautismconnection.com/ is an excellent resource)

> Join Parent Support Groups

> Call Autism Ontario – Ottawa Chapter, Realize Community Potential for a group in your area 613-230-6305, typically groups meet monthly

> There is an email support group: Autism Support Ottawa Yahoo Group
Subscribe by email: autismsupportOttawa-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

> Autism Ontario is a great resource and has a lending library
Ottawa Chapter
211 Bronson Avenue Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6H5

> Set up an appointment with your accountant to discuss Medical and Disability Expenses.

If you do not presently have an accountant you may consider contacting:
• James Kurtz, CGA, CFP 613-277-8297

If your child has yet to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and yet you are concerned with his / her development, in Ottawa you can:
* Contact First Words at the Ontario Early Years Drop-in Centres (First Words offers free clinics and no appointment is required)
* Contact QuickStart
* Contact OCTC (Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre) 1-800-565-4839
* Speak to your child’s Paediatrician
* Contact a psychologist for a formal diagnosis

> Contact Alisha Refunds. Specializing in health-related tax credit. http://alisarefunds.ca

Your child will be most successful when learning is conducted in a highly structured, intensive manner with access to reinforcement. Depending on their unique needs, goals can be easily implemented by the instructor therapist on a day-to-day basis.

Examples of SLP goals:

  • articulation targets
  • syntax and grammar
  • oral motor and conversation skills

Examples of OT goals

  • fine and gross motor production (e.g. printing, cutting, throwing a ball)

The above lists are not extensive; we will determine your child’s needs once they are assessed.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears within the first three years of life. It is a neurological disorder that affects the development of communication and social interaction skills. Individuals with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and play skills. The disorder makes it hard for people to relate to the outside world. In some cases, children with autism may exhibit odd behaviors; which may include hand-flapping, rocking, unusual attachments to objects and sensitivities in sight, touch, hearing, smell or taste.


The term “autism” is typically used to refer to the spectrum of autism disorders (ASDs) – a general diagnostic category of disorders that are characterized by deficits in communication and social skills. Where a child falls under the umbrella of the autism spectrum is determined by the severity or number of symptoms, or the age of symptom onset. Many professionals use the specific diagnoses interchangeably, which can be misleading, and that is why the diagnosis of autism needs to be made by a professional who is highly experienced in diagnosing the disorder.

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is a specialized form of intervention designed for young children with autism, based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) methods have been used successfully:

  • with learners of all ages
  • in formal and informal settings
  • in learners with and without disabilities

Portia believes that each individual’s program should be tailored to their needs, therefore using ABA methods at our centre makes perfect sense.
Highly Recognized
ABA is widely recognized by educators and professionals as the only intervention leading to comprehensive, lasting improvements in the lives of individuals with autism. ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been used for over 50 years, and is endorsed by a number of North American agencies including, but not limited to:

  • several Canadian Provincial Governments
  • several U.S. state and federal agencies
  • the U.S. Surgeon General

Parents may feel they are being pulled in many different directions as their child is being offered services by many private and public services. Your child may be enrolled in one hour per week of Occupational Therapy, one hour per week of Speech Therapy and preschool. This “eclectic” approach is not enough – research shows that this is equivalent to doing nothing.

EIBI, conversely, is intensive. It is considered “best practice” for young children with autism, and is far superior to an eclectic intervention and equivalent amounts of special education. Research backs up this claim:

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