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Empowered Kids Ontario General Members

705 Progress Ave Unit 63, Scarborough, ON, M1H 2X1
Phone: 416-289-0100

The SAAAC Autism Centre is a Toronto based charity whose mission is to make autism services equitable for all Canadians. The Centre provides culturally responsive autism services targeting culturally and linguistically diverse families. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, our Centre offers a dynamic range of services that support the development of individuals on the autism spectrum at all life stages, along with their caregivers. 

Mission Statement

Mission: Making autism services equitable for all Canadians. 

Vision: Our vision is where all individuals with autism in Canada have equal access to comprehensive, culturally responsive, and high-quality services that support their full potential and improve their quality of life.

Our Story

Founded in 2008 

The SAAAC Autism Centre was initially created as a direct response to the growing need for awareness, as well as support, for South Asian families affected by ASD and related developmental conditions in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Geetha Moorthy, founder and executive director, began the Centre by delivering free adapted dance programs for youth on the autism spectrum from the basement of her home. As years progressed, the Centre began adding additional services with the help of passionate volunteers, hardworking families, and dedicated autism professionals. 

Serving Diverse Communities

As our Centre grew, we began providing services to diverse newcomer communities. We understood that newcomer communities, like the South Asian families we initially served, shared common cultural and socio-economic barriers to accessing quality autism care and information. 

Working with diverse communities, we modified our mission to help make autism services equitable for ALL Canadians. 

Commitment to Quality and Access 

Our Centre, led by a multi-disciplinary team of clinical supervisors, social workers, instructional therapists, artists, among others, supplies a suite of services that serve critical milestones in an individual’s life. 

Through innovative programming, passionate leadership, and committed community partners, the SAAAC Autism Centre is working hard every day to fulfil its mission to make autism care equitable for all Canadians. We are proud to serve over 600 families and continue to grow our family of over 150 volunteers. 

Services Client Demographics

For over 15 years, our organization has been steadfast in its mission to support individuals with autism and their caregivers, with a keen focus on assisting those grappling with significant socio-economic challenges. Our services are primarily concentrated in Scarborough, a diverse yet markedly underserved district of Toronto. We serve families across 3 sites in Scarborough. This area is distinct for its high population of newcomers and low-income families, with a notable 26.8% of its residents living in poverty. Scarborough is characterized by the presence of seven of Toronto’s poorest neighborhoods, underscoring the acute need for targeted support services in the area. 

The demographics we serve are predominantly families who are new to Canada, with a striking 65% living below the poverty line. Language barriers, cultural differences, and low health literacy levels make it difficult for these families to access and understand essential healthcare information related to autism. 

Our People/Our Team

At the heart of the SAAAC Autism Centre is a team led by our visionary founder and Executive Director, Geetha Moorthy who always believed in equitable access to developmental health services. He has infused SAAAC with an innovative spirit that looks to continuously looks to break down barriers through innovative programming, cross sector collaboration, and community focused care.Our leadership team and staff consist of a multidisciplinary group of clinical supervisors, social workers, instructional therapists, and artists. Each member brings a wealth of expertise and a shared passion for making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals with autism and their families. This diverse team ensures that the services we provide are comprehensive and culturally responsive.

The culture at SAAAC is one of compassion, collaboration, and continuous learning. We are united by our core values of equity, quality, and accessibility in autism care. These values drive us to serve over 1,000 families annually across our three locations in Toronto, offering a wide range of services. 

Our commitment extends beyond traditional services to innovative solutions like The Goodness Gift, a social enterprise designed to provide job training and employment for young adults on the autism spectrum. This initiative reflects our broader mission to support individuals with autism throughout their life stages and to advocate for their full potential and quality of life. 

Achievement/Awards And Recognition

In 2023, SAAAC’s CARES Caregiver Support Program was awarded with the College of Family Physicians of Canada™ (CFPC) and the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) Collaborative Mental Health Care Award for its excellence in enhancing mental health outcomes through collaborative healthcare efforts. 

Geetha Moorthy’s efforts have been widely recognized, earning her several prestigious awards including the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award for Social Change and Autism Ontario’s Gerry Bloomfield Professionals Award. In 2024, Geetha Moorthy was recognized as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence by the Women of Influence+ organization. 

Our Partners

SAAAC Autism Centre is part of the Toronto Autism Services Network, which is a a group of seven agencies with decades of experience providing high-quality services to children with ASD and their families. The group of agencies form an integrated and equitable system of care for families and children diagnosed with ASD. We offer intervention services and family and caregiver training through our Social ABCs, Pivotal Response Treatment and Project ImPACT programming. 

We work with a number of foundations and corporate partners such as United Way of Greater Toronto, Holman Community, Unity for Autism, Els for Autism, TD, and the Co-operators to deliver various programs at subsidized or at no cost to families. 

Learn More About Us

This year, the SAAAC Autism Centre is focusing on the unemployment crisis of adults on the autism spectrum. We are addressing this issue through the creation of our social enterprise, the Goodness Gift.

Goodness Gift is a socially conscious enterprise that creates and curates high-quality gifts by employing individuals with autism. Goodness Gift is tackling unemployment in the autism community head on by building a nurturing and inclusive workplace, specifically tailored for adults on the spectrum.

Key Features of Goodness Gift:

  • Meaningful Employment: Annually employs and trains 50 individuals on the autism spectrum, providing them with valuable job skills and work experience.
  • Comprehensive Training: Employees receive specialized training in logistics and fulfillment, equipping them with the necessary tools to thrive in a competitive job market.
  • Creative Platform: Encourages autistic creators to design and sell unique products on the Goodness Gift e-commerce platform, fostering creativity and entrepreneurship within the community.

Visit Our Website: Learn about our mission, explore our high-quality products, and see the impact of your support at https://goodnessgift.com/ 

Follow Us on Social Media: Get the latest updates, behind-the-scenes looks, and stories from our dedicated team by following us on the following platforms:
Instagram: @goodnessgift
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegoodnessgift
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/goodness-gift/

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