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Ontario Working Group on Mental Health & Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Welcome to the website of the Ontario Working Group on Mental Health and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In response to the alarming lack of knowledge and appropriate services for adults living with ASD, this collaboration was created in spring 2014. We are leaders in the ASD field, clinicians and researchers in adult mental health, and representatives from professional clinical organizations across Ontario.

Unmet Needs of Adults with ASDs

Increasingly, individuals are diagnosed with ASD for the first time in adulthood. Also, those previously diagnosed with non-specific developmental disabilities or learning disabilities are being identified as having ASD. For all adults with ASD, their struggles in social interaction are commonly compounded by mental health issues—particularly anxiety and depression.

Without appropriate diagnostic and mental health services, many adults suffer in isolation. They may be unable to find or keep employment, gain independence, find friends and partners, or function in post-secondary education. A recent provincial study found that a high proportion of affected adults depend on family members well into adulthood, require long-term financial supports, and may have a poor quality of life overall.

Educating Mental Health Professionals

The short-term deliverable of the Ontario Working Group is to organize a day-long conference for mental health practitioners. This will be an opportunity to educate clinicians across the province on the mental health and psychosocial issues that adults with ASD face, while at the same time presenting best practice approaches from expert speakers, consumer panels, and research presentations.

In addition to this unique event, the Ontario Working Groupplans to continue to inform mental health professionals and the public about the needs of this marginalized group.


Dr. Kevin Stoddart
Dr. Kevin Stoddart (Co-Chair) is Founding Director of The Redpath Centre and Adjunct Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. He has worked in the fields of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), developmental disabilities, and child and adult mental health.
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Dr. Doug Weir

Dr. Doug Weir (Co-Chair) was President of the Ontario Medical Association 2012-2013 and on the OMA Board of Directors from May 2005 to April 2014. He has been active in the Ontario Medical Association since 1988 and continues to serve on a number of committees. During his year as President he championed a number of issues including Alcohol Harm Reduction, Obesity Prevention and Improving Mental Health Services for Teenagers and Young Adults.

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