TRE-ADD Respite Program

About This Program

Target Population: Children/youth ages 6 to 17 (up until their 18th birthday) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with behavioral and/or complex needs and their families and caregivers

For children/adolescents ages: 6 – 17

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 6 – 17

Program Overview

TRE-ADD Respite provides a break for families and caregivers of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) whose behavior and/or complex needs make typically offered respite programs inaccessible. The home uses an ABA approach with all aspects of programming with an emphasis on communication, life skills and recreational activities. The program is designed to deliver enjoyable programming and give parents relief for a few hours to a few days.

Treatment-based respite services are also available to children or adolescents from 6 to 17 years of age (up to 18th birthday). Services are available to the children/families with the most need first.

TRE-ADD Respite also offers support to children and adolescents who are either in crisis or are part of a family who requires emergency care. The services are arranged through the family’s case coordinator.

Program Goals

The goals of the TRE-ADD Respite Program are:

For children/youth:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Reduce maladaptive behaviors
  • Increase independence
  • Learn daily living skills

For families/caregivers:

  • Alleviate stress
  • Improve quality of life
  • Achieve peace of mind in leaving child/youth for short breaks

Logic Model

View the Logic Model for TRE-ADD Respite Program.

Essential Components

The essential components of the TRE-ADD Respite Program include:

  • Serves youth who are unable to be supported at other community respite services due to their complex needs
  • Strives for excellence in the delivery of services that foster growth in children and youth with ASD and multiple needs, and their families
  • Provides robust clinical supports to enable the management of complex behaviors such as 1:1 ratio of client to staff
  • Uses a well-defined and consistent program structure based on:
    • Predictable routine for the respite home
    • Basic skills acquisition
    • Use of an ABA and biopsychosocial approach to:
      • Improve social interactions
      • Foster independence
      • Reduce challenging behaviors
      • Build capacity for community integration
  • Utilizes behavior-analytic principles such as:
    • Visual schedules
    • Visual timers
    • Modelling
    • Naturalistic teaching strategies
    • Behavioral momentum
    • Graduated guidance
    • Reinforcement strategies
    • Peer-mediated approaches
  • Provides assistance with the following as needed:
    • Hygiene routines
    • Household tasks
    • Food preparation
    • Community engagement
  • Provides activities such as:
    • Use of the Sensory room
    • Playing games
    • Themed arts & craft
    • Puzzles
    • Board games
    • iPad use for games
    • Movies
    • Trampoline
  • Provides planned community outings to meet the needs of the child and ensuing safety such as:
    • Swimming
    • Water parks
    • Playgrounds
    • Amusement parks
  • Creates individualized programs and protocols for each child depending on their strengths, needs, and preferences
  • Uses an interdisciplinary team, including parents/caregivers and other community-based professional who are involved in the care of the child/youth
  • Emphasizes monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of each program and protocol and modifying as needed
  • Requires program staff be formally educated and trained in the application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) prior to employment
  • Trains staff on the appropriate necessary skills with close monitoring from a behavior services consultant and program supervisor; these include:
    • Implementing behavioral overviews
    • Conducting behavior programs
    • Following crisis response plans
    • Collecting behavior data
    • Providing feedback regarding obstacles to successful implementation of behavior programs
  • Uses the Behavior Skills Training (BST) Model to train staff which provides:
    • Instruction
    • Modeling (through video or in-person as appropriate)
    • Roleplay (behavioral rehearsal)
    • Feedback
  • Provides clinical support to staff by the program’s Behavior Services Consultant
  • Uses technology (iPads, email, cloud computing, etc.) within program and for communicating with families and TRE-ADD partners to:
    • Schedule visits, activities, appointments, drop off and pick up etc.
    • Collect preference assessment data
    • Share pictures and notes from activities
  • Strives to schedule individuals in a consistent manner, so they are able to stay with peers they know and are similar in age and level of functioning
  • Provides discussion of discharge plan with family and a summarized report of the respite visits which includes:
    • Respite Summary
    • Individualized Behavioral Overview
    • Behavior and frequency Data
    • Preference assessment data
  • Measures client performance by collecting detailed data during the individuals stay at respite:
    • Collects data on:
      • The frequency of target behaviors
      • Rapport building
      • Preference assessments
      • Any program-specific data
    • Fills in daily log reports outlining the tasks and activities the individual engaged in during their visit at respite
    • Provides a behavioral overview (i.e., a document outlining all the important information staff need to know when working with the client) for each client.
      • Provides the data collected for this document during the family Plan of Care meeting, during initial observations, and from all other data collected during the client’s time at respite
      • Updates document continuously as needed
    • Conducts data in the form of performance checklists in order to measure staff performance on the programs and protocols implemented for the respite clients

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

TRE-ADD Respite Program directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and has challenging and complex maladaptive behaviors including aggression, severe self-injurious, running, property destruction

Parent/Caregiver Services

TRE-ADD Respite Program directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Parents/caregivers of children/youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and have challenging and complex maladaptive behaviors

Recommended Intensity:

Respite Coordinator and support staff will have ongoing contact with families ensuring up-to-date information on file, any changes to the child’s care including medication. The number of 24- to 48-hour stays will be determined by each implementing agency’s funding stream.

Recommended Duration:

The length of program availability will be determined by each implementing agency’s funding stream.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Computers
  • iPads
  • Behavioral Personal Protective Equipment
  • Person-centered activities:
    • Toys
    • Crafts
    • Trampoline
  • Sensory room
  • Vehicle
  • A designated location
  • Bedrooms
  • Visual schedules
  • Picture Exchange Communication system
  • Social stories

The environment of the program should be:

  • A large residential home with:
  • Living rooms
  • Activity and playrooms
  • Sensory room
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • A fenced in backyard
  • Parking on-site
  • A maglock system and video monitoring due to the complex needs of the individuals the program serves

The following are also needed to run the program:

  • Keeping in contact with the finance department
  • Positive rapport with families and other community services
  • Maintaining partnerships with community-based professionals
  • Maintaining licensing standards outlined by local jurisdictions
  • Adhering to any other relevant federal or state legislation

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Staffing team in the respite home would have the following minimum qualifications and experience:

  • Degree or diploma in a relevant human services field
  • ABA diploma and experience using the approach
  • Preference given to candidates with a Behavioral Service Technologist diploma (or similar)
  • Experience working in a residential or day program that used an ABA approach to service delivery.

There must be clinical oversight by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst to ensure ABA programming is being conducted ethically and as designed.

Manual Information

There is not a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

PowerPoint presentation with informal consultation provided

Number of days/hours:

No set length of time.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for TRE-ADD Respite Program.

Additional References

ARCH National Respite Network. (2023). TRE-ADD Respite Choices Community Living Toronto: Respite choices - innovative and exemplary.

Contact Information

Agency/Affiliation: Community Living Toronto
Phone: (647) 729-0450

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: November 2023

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2023