Category Archives: Children with Special Needs

Letter to you, my perfectly imperfect daughter…

Your birth on April 18th 2015 was the happiest day of my life. You know, less than a year before your arrival, you had a big brother but he had the wings of an angel. So when I held you in my arms for the first time, it was both a relief and the culmination of a big dream; becoming a mother. You arrived 4 weeks earlier than expected after nearly 23 hours of labor.

JulieBenoit

Photo credit: Jessica Côté

When I saw you for the first time, I was ecstatic but this little voice inside my heart and my head was telling me that something wasn’t right. I guess we can call it intuition. When I changed your diaper for the first time, I noticed right away this little malformation on your skin in your lower back. I didn’t waste any time; I spoke to your doctor and from then on, a range of specialists entered your life and you have had to undergo a whole battery of tests that caused you to suffer more often than not. All the doctors seemed worried but nobody knew what was really going on so we were referred to different specialists. Continue reading

How families walk the financial tightrope of caring for children with medical complexity

Amy recites expenses with the precision of an accountant. There was the HEPA filter to purify the air in her home: $1000. An American Sign Language (ASL) kit: $1500. A plasma car: $80.

These are all necessary to accommodate Amy’s three-year-old son, Wyatt. Wyatt was born with brainstem dysgenesis, a rare condition where blood flow to the baby’s brain is disrupted during pregnancy. Because of his condition, Wyatt has a host of respiratory, nervous and muscular problems that require special accommodation. Continue reading

Clothing Rituals: Moving from Season to Season

Does your child have difficulty with change of clothing between seasons e.g. moving from shoes to boots, long sleeves to short, coat to just a tee shirt?  This can be a common characteristic in children with Autism and those with sensory processing difficulties. It can be the result of tactile sensitivity; the child is particular about the clothes he wears, finds tags and seams itchy or irritating, may not like having his sleeves pushed up, and likes only loose or tight clothing, socks and shoes or bare feet. Some children have difficulty tolerating touch to their skin and find that they can only tolerate certain clothing. It may also be the result of an intolerance to change in routine, transitions, or type of clothing. Some children are rigid and ritualistic because their world is confusing and overwhelming. The rituals and routines are their attempts to control their world in order to cope with it. Continue reading

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

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