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British Columbia Autism Assessment & Funding Guide

This guide outlines the process for obtaining an autism diagnosis and accessing funding in British Columbia. As of August 2021, children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (which includes older categories of Autism, Autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and PDD-NOS) are eligible for funding up to the following amounts:

  • Ages 0-6: Up to $22,000

  • Ages 6-18: Up to $6,000

At a glance, there are five main steps involved in diagnosis and accessing Autism funding. These steps are outlined below in the image and described in detail in this article.

Brief description of the 5 Steps that caregivers need to follow to access autism diagnosis and funding for children youth under the age of 18.
At a Glance: 5 Steps to Obtaining Autism Diagnosis and Funding

Step 1: Get a Diagnostic Assessment

BCAAN Autism Assessments

You can get a free autism assessment for your child through the British Columbia Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN). Here's how it works:

  1. Talk to your family doctor. They can directly refer you to BCAAN for an autism assessment.

  2. Wait for BCAAN to contact you. Once your doctor sends the referral, BCAAN staff will reach out to you to schedule an appointment.

  3. Schedule an assessment at a convenient Location. BCAAN staff will try to find a location close to you. In Vancouver, assessments are often done at the Sunny Hill Health Centre, now located at the BC Children's Hospital.

BCAAN wait times can vary, but the overall wait time currently published on the BCAAN website is 80.6 weeks.

Private Assessments

If you'd prefer a faster assessment, you can go the private route. Here's what you need to know:

  • Contact a Specialist: You can get an assessment from a BC paediatrician, psychiatrist, or registered psychologist.

  • Cost: Expect to pay between $2,500 and $4,500 for the assessment.

  • Prepare the form: Download the "Non-BCAAN (Private) Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder" form. You'll need to complete Part 1 before your appointment. Your chosen specialist will complete Part 2.

Process for Out of Province Assessments

If your child's autism assessment was done outside of British Columbia, you'll need confirmation from a BC specialist before accessing autism funding. Here's how to get it:

  1. Schedule an appointment: Get an appointment with a BC-registered paediatrician, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

  2. Prepare the form: Download "Confirmation of Previous Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder" form beforehand. You'll fill out Part 1 with your child's information.

  3. Specialist completes the form: During your appointment, the specialist will review your child's assessment and complete Part 2 of the form.

Step 2: Schedule an Appointment with a CYSN Worker

Once you have your child's autism diagnosis, it's time to connect with a Child and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) worker to discuss funding. Here's how:

Schedule an Appointment:

  • Visit or Call: Head to your local Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) office or give them a call.

  • Office Hours: The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

  • Nearby Locations: Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, and Surrey (check online for a complete list).

Step 3: Prepare Documentation

For your meeting with the CYSN worker, be sure to bring the following documents for review:

  • Completed Autism Funding Application: Make sure you've filled out this form completely.

  • Child's Diagnostic Reports: Bring the original reports from your child's autism assessment.

  • Proof of Age: Your child's birth certificate is the easiest way to verify this.

  • Proof of Residency: A current BC Services Card or driver's license will work.

Want to Speed Things Up? You can send copies of these documents to the CYSN office before your meeting.

After reviewing your documents, the CYSN worker will help you submit your application for autism funding. They'll also answer any questions you have about the process.

Step 4: Sign and Return Autism Agreement

Once you submit your application, keep an eye on your mailbox for the "Autism Funding Agreement". This typically arrives within 2-4 weeks.

Upon receipt,

  • Read Carefully: When you receive the agreement, take your time to read it thoroughly. Pay close attention to the "Parent Obligations" section, which outlines your responsibilities related to using the funding.

  • Sign and Return: There will be two copies of the agreement. Sign both copies and return them to the Autism Funding Branch using the address provided on the form.

  • Time is of the Essence: Make sure to return both signed copies within two weeks to the Autism Funding Branch. The address will be specified on the form.

Step 5: Receive Confirmation Letter for Autism Funding

After the Autism Funding Branch (AFB) has received your signed agreements, you'll be sent a "Welcome to Autism Funding" letter via mail. This letter confirms two important things:

  • Funding Amount: This is the amount of funding your child is approved for.

  • Funding Period: These are the exact dates covering the funding period.

With the "Welcome to Autism Funding" confirmation letter in hand, you can now officially start using your autism funding to cover expenses related to travel, services, equipment, and training.

A colorful heart-shaped puzzle piece in shades of blue, red, and yellow, representing autism awareness, rests on a colourful background.

Using and Managing your Autism Funding

The My Family Services portal is your one-stop shop for managing your child's autism funding! Here's what you can do on the portal:

  • Check your balance: See how much funding remains in your child's account.

  • Set up service providers: Easily add approved service providers by completing a "Request to Pay" document. Note that only registered service providers can be funded through autism funding for children under 6 years of age.

  • Request equipment and get reimbursed: Submit requests for equipment and get reimbursed for eligible expenses.

  • Ask questions: The portal offers a convenient way to ask questions about your funding. If you prefer to get assistance over the phone or by email, you can reach the Autism Funding Unit by using the contact information below: Victoria Office: 250-387-3530 Toll-Free: 1-877-777-3530 Email:

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