Rebecca started working for CISS in September 1992. Her love for travelling motivated her to leave in 1995 to go work in Nova Scotia and she came back in 1997. She also went on a sabbatical to France in 2013-14. However, she has always found her way back home with CISS, where her true passion for inclusion resides. Rebecca is a Resource Consultant Team Leader for our South Team. To know a bit more about her journey, please read the interview I had the chance to do with her.
How did you come to choose a career with CISS? And what makes CISS your employer of choice?
After working as a resource teacher for 3.5 years in Kingston and another 3.5 years in Lennox and Addington County, I came to Ottawa to take a contract job as an ECE and Resource Teacher with what was then RMOC (Regional Municipality Ottawa Carleton) in 1990. I hoped that I would be in the “right place at the right time” to be hired permanently.
The City of Ottawa awarded Andrew Fleck Child Care Services (AFCCS) the contract to create CISS in 1991 and CISS began to absorb the funding from the segregated nursery schools as they were phased out. I was excited at the prospect of working for CISS so I put my hands up to the universe and asked that I be hired if CISS was a workplace where I could flourish. I wanted to work with others where I could learn a lot from my colleagues and share my skills with others. For those reasons, CISS remains my employer of choice.
What were the main functions of your role when your first started?
As an Integration Advisor, I supported up to 10 children in community preschool programs.
In the beginning what was your vision regarding inclusion?
I have always believed that a child is a child first and that all children belong.
Could you share with us a highlight of your career?
There have been too many to single out one. I have really enjoyed seeing many children and families and educators thrive with support. It has been fun to watch children become more independent and interdependent as they have made some real and lasting friendships. It has been wonderful to see educators pick up new skills and use them creatively in their programs. It also has been wonderful to see children move on to school and school age programs and beyond and to see them continue to thrive.
In terms of inclusion, do you notice a shift since the early stages of your career? What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over time?
Yes – over the years, more and more childcares have been enrolling children with special needs. There also are a lot more children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder then there were in the beginning of my career and most of these children are now successfully included in childcare programs. We also are supporting more children than we were once upon a time and we now provide indirect support for older children in school age programs by taking a program approach to consultation. The movement away from the medical model toward the social model of inclusion makes a lot of sense to me.
What would you wish for CISS in the next 30 years?
I hope that CISS continues to be responsive to the needs of the community. I hope that all children will