Inclusion — A Cause for Celebration!

2016 marks the completion of the 25th anniversary of Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS). We were not given a road map when our journey for a seamless system of supported inclusion began. As we travelled down the inclusion road, we learnt that change is inevitable and it is up to each of us to grow with each lesson learned. We also understood that it was alright to ask for directions. Our story began with a road trip to the Region of Durham to seek information and ideas from others who had already started their inclusion journey.  Believe it or not, “Google Maps” had not yet been invented so it became a leap of faith, knowing that we all believed in and were committed to a path where full inclusion was possible by working towards supporting the needs of each child, their parents and the early childhood educators and providers.  The inclusion pioneers who had bravely gone before us shared all of their lessons learned on how they achieved their success as well as sharing what roads for us not to go down. We had a strong belief in a vision where ALL children belong.  We knew our journey was going to be positive and possible. Continue reading

A Leading Force of Inclusion

Wordle South TeamIn 1991 when Children’s Integration Support Services was formed, a unique role was created to support licensed child care programs with the integration of children with special needs. That role was then known as Integration Advisor.

The Integration Advisor’s primary role was to demonstrate to programs that a child is a child first, and that a child with a special need can integrate well into a community program when there is a strong partnership between the family, program, and community partners. Today Integration Advisors are known in the community as Resource Consultants.  Continue reading

Diversity at Mealtimes

An intricate part of the Ontario Ministry of Education pedagogy: How Does Learning Happen? (HDLH) highlights the importance of building relationships with children and families. Vanier Co-operative School-age Program has found a way to embed the four foundational conditions of HDLH “Belonging, Well Being, Engagement and Expression” through their enrollment process as it relates to the inclusion of diversity at mealtimes.

The foundation of engagement is reflected during the enrollment process which engages families, children and educators to build relationships that support the child within the context of his or her families’ culture and diversity. As part of the enrollment process, a food survey is conducted with the parents, as they know, their child best. The child’s top 3 favourites from each food groups are highlighted as well as food allergies, restrictions, intolerances and special dietary information.   Continue reading

Jeremy an Accomplished Athlete

JeremyPWe are a family of four which consist of myself, Annik, my husband, our oldest son Jeremy who is thirteen, and our youngest son Bryce who is eight. Jeremy was born on October 1, 2002. We were the happiest parents in the world. Jeremy was reaching all of his milestones except for language until the age of one. I was concerned as he was getting frustrated and upset as he couldn’t communicate with us. I went to the doctor who referred us to First Words. Within a year, I received a call at work and that’s when it all began.

Jeremy was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the fall of 2005. I will never forget the day when my husband and I got the diagnosis from the assessment at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC). Our world went spinning that afternoon knowing our child has ASD. It was hard at the beginning as we did not have much information and questioned what the future held for a child with ASD. OCTC was a big help for us as they guided us in the right direction. Continue reading

Shifting Perspectives….

The child care community is currently in the process of change and educators/home child care providers are continuously making efforts to create engaging environments and experiences to foster children’s learning and development. They are deeply engaged in recognizing and adapting their own personal perspectives to support children’s well-being and their sense of belonging.

We as educators/home child care providers and parents/guardians all have our own personal perspectives, values and belief systems, and it can feel unnatural to change or adapt how we express ourselves. Recognizing and being more conscious of the statements we use with children helps shift the focus to a more positive approach that can lead to a decrease in the intensity and frequency of challenging behaviours. Continue reading

Helping Children Deal With Change

One of the most important skills you can help your child develop is the ability to deal with change.  There are everyday changes all children face, such as adjusting to a new caregiver or school, or to new teachers and friends.  Many children must face bigger changes as well following a loss, a move, or a divorce in the family.  All change, whether it’s the end of the school year, the birth of a sibling, or a move to a new home, brings some sadness and uncertainty, as well as anticipation and excitement.  You can help your child develop the skills to handle change by understanding your child’s needs and by offering encouragement and support. Continue reading

The Key to Happiness

We are all together in that we want to be happy and appreciate that every moment is a gift; to find a balance in our lives. Give yourself some time to reflect on holding the key to happiness in your own hands. Listen to other accounts on how surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good and how meaningful relationships are protective and help you move forward. Think about building resiliency in your life by investing your time and energy into relationships and connections with others and yourself. Be inspired and rethink your approach to stress by seeing it as encouragement to rise to the challenge! Continue reading