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Outcomes and Lessons Learned of the Implementation of a Support Program for Families (OASIS+)

Élise Milot, Marie Grandisson, Sarah Martin-Roy, Fanny Leblanc

Research Framework: In Quebec, parents with a child who has an intellectual disability (ID) or autism have many unmet needs for respite and support for social participation. This article focuses on OASIS+, an experimental support program designed to meet such needs by working with students from professional training programs.

Objectives: This research aims to document the benefits of the OASIS+ experimental program for families and students, and to identify the lessons learned during its implementation.

Methodology: A mixed method approach was used with measures taken before, during and after the experimental program with parents, students, and advisory committee members.

Results: Seventeen families and ten social work and occupational therapy students participated in the OASIS+ program between September 2019 and March 2020. Of those accompanied, 41% had ID, 35% had autism and 24% had a dual diagnosis. Results indicate the following benefits for parents: decreased in the feeling of parental overload, an improvement in their social participation, and a better reconciliation of their family, social and professional roles. Students perceived an improvement in their knowledge and skills. Lessons learned include recruitment, pairing, student training and support, services delivered, coordination, and program sustainability

Conclusions: OASIS+ is an innovative program that supports families who have a child with ID or autism while helping to train future professionals.

Contribution: An evaluation of programs has shown the contribution of OASIS+ in supporting families and has identified key elements to consider in its implementation.