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'CHRA Member Profiles' is a feature on the CHRA blog that examines innovative service models and approaches in the community housing sector.

Surrey Place provides a variety of services and supports to people of all ages with developmental disabilities, autism, and special needs. Operating across five locations in the Toronto region, Surrey Place is often the first point of contact for individuals and their families seeking support. In this CHRA Member Profile, we’ll learn more about Surrey Place and how they serve the needs of their clients as well as the wider social services sector.

 

Beginnings

Surrey Place has been in operation in one form or another for 60 years. In 1962 the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry founded a community clinic to provide assessment and diagnosis for individuals with developmental disabilities. Over the years, the clinic would change names and locations and increase the scope of its services.

 

Today

Surrey Place currently employs over 450 staff, operates five locations across Toronto, and serves over 10,000 clients, families and caregivers, professionals, and organizations annually. Surrey Place is the lead agency for Developmental Services Ontario Toronto Region and a partner of Toronto Autism Services Network.

 

Autism Services

Surrey Place offers a range of supports to enhance long-term outcomes for children and youth with autism. Some services and support programs designed to help families and caregivers meet the needs of children and youth are offered through the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) free of charge.

Surrey Place also provides a suite of clinical supports, assessments, occupational therapy, and speech/communication programs designed to help children and youth with autism and their families to thrive.

 

Mental Health Supports

Surrey Place provides a variety of mental health supports and services based on client needs, including:

  • Diagnosis
  • Medical Services
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Supports

The organization’s website also offers mental health resources, including articles and recorded wellness events that are available to the public.

 

Wellness Services

Recognizing that wellness supports are critical for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Surrey Place programming includes a variety of wellness supports in the form of resources and events. Their healthcare team provides social, behavioural, communication, mental health, and community support through groups, workshops, clinics, drop-ins, phone-ins, and telehealth.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s Wellness Services have been successfully migrated to online formats.

 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Services

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term that describes the various effects, including physical, intellectual, and neurobehavioral deficits that can present in individuals who were exposed to alcohol before birth.

Surrey Place offers FASD diagnostic services for children and adults, along with recommendations and support plans that aim to improve outcomes for individuals experiencing these effects. The organization’s service coordination program also helps caregivers of children experiencing the effects of FASD to understand the disorder and navigate programs and services.

 

DSO Toronto/Housing Navigation

Developmental Services Ontario connects adults with developmental disabilities to supports and services in their communities through its nine locations across Ontario. Surrey Place is the lead agency for Developmental Services Ontario Toronto (DSO-TR), which connects eligible applicants to Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS)-funded services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. Services include:

  • Community Participation Supports
  • Person-Directed Planning
  • Residential Services and Supports
  • Specialized Supports
  • Family Support Workers
  • Respite Supports
  • Adult Protective Services Workers

DSO-TR Housing Navigators help people with developmental disabilities and those supporting them to learn about housing and additional support for independent living. The Housing Navigator also champions innovative housing solutions, develops resources, and shares creative strategies to help people identify housing options for adults with developmental disabilities.

The services of the Housing Navigator team are invaluable to those they support:

“Parents are so very blessed to have your support!” – parent of a DSO client

“Thanks for all your energy and knowledge” – parent of a DSO client

“I truly admire how you approach your work with honesty and realism, but also so enthusiastically and creatively.” – staff member from a community agency

 

DSO-TR/Surrey Place successfully administers the ‘Bridges to Housing’ program, which partners with the City of Toronto, Inner City Family Health Centre, and Community Living Toronto to support and find permanent housing for adults with developmental disabilities who are experiencing homelessness.

 

Education

Surrey Place hosts a variety of educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, medical residents, post-graduate trainees and professionals to learn about its specialized services. Opportunities include:

  • Clinical placements
  • Medical placements
  • Psychology internships
  • Psychology practicums

 

Research

True to its foundations at the University of Toronto’s Psychology department, Surrey Place conducts significant research that impacts practices within the organization and the wider service system. Their main research themes, ‘Health and Wellbeing” and “Improving Practice” focus the organization’s research on providing solutions that benefit the health sector and improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

Surrey Place is an integral part of Toronto’s social services landscape and plays a unique role among its peers. With its dedication not only to improving the lives of clients and their caregivers but to actively improving practices and standards in the sector itself, Surrey Place is an inspiration for similar organizations and its community.

 

This post was written in collaboration with Surrey Place.

Learn more about Surrey Place and Developmental Services Ontario-Toronto

     

 

Are you a CHRA member? Would you like to be featured in a CHRA Member Profile? Contact Communications Manager Leah Blunden at lblunden@chra-achru.ca.