Success Story

Creating accessible, free, and safe environments for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


Photo courtesy of York University.

Autism Teenage Partnership (ATP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing accessible, free, and safe spaces for teens diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo regions. ATP recently completed a 10-week summer accelerator program at LaunchYU, York University’s entrepreneurship program and has received a $25,000 grant from the Laidlaw Foundation to fund their operations. This grant enables ATP to expand with a larger range of activities and higher quality equipment to create more positive outcomes for their participants. 

ATP was started by York University student Janson Chan with an aim to positively impact the lives of individuals diagnosed with autism and their families. ATP supports individuals with ASD by delivering weekly social programming that enables them to express themselves through games, crafts, and team-building activities. In partnership with Autism Ontario, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, York University and local community associations, Autism Teenage Partnership has been successfully operating two locations in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo with 70+ registered participants and 35+ volunteers. 

ATP was one of the 18 ventures that graduated from LaunchYU’s accelerator program, which is supported through Ontario’s On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

During the program Janson underwent a rigorous training from York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI). As a part of a cohort which consisted of both for-profit and not-for-profit ventures, Janson was able to get a good perspective about refining ATP’s business model in order to achieve long term sustainability. ATP is now developing a toolkit incorporating their proven protocols, programming, and expertise, in order to allow their successes to be duplicated in other underserved regions and thereby create systemic changes in our immediate community and beyond. The grant from Laidlaw Foundation will help towards preparing this toolkit and enable ATP to expand faster. ATP is also one of the ventures selected for OCE’s Ontario Social Impact Voucher Program.

This story was provided by York University.