Category Archives: Children with Special Needs

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

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

Register Now for the Inclusion: A Cause for Celebration Conference

Attention all Resource Teachers/Resource Consultants, the Early Childhood Resource Teachers Network of Ontario  (ECRTNO) and Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS), a program of Andrew Fleck Child Care Services, are pleased to invite you to attend our celebratory conference Inclusion – A Cause for Celebration on November 15, 16 and 17th, 2016.  The conference marks the 30th anniversary of the ECRTNO as well as the 25th anniversary of CISS.

Please check out our conference program guide for the complete lineup of keynotes, workshops, the registration information and more.

Cover-Conference Continue reading

Fostering Social and Emotional Growth through Amigos Club

Educators have numerous responsibilities to the children in our care. Most importantly we are responsible for fostering their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. In our school age program for children aged 6 to 8, we set goals for creating new friendships between peers and fostering skills to support basic social interactions (e.g. asking to join a game already in progress). But where to start?

Our CISS Resource Consultant told us about a former program called “Amigos Time”. It sounded exactly like what we were looking for. The concept is fairly simple. Each week, the educators place the children in pairs. The pairings are written on a dry erase poster hanging on our Amigos Club bulletin board, and the children are very excited to see who their partner will be upon arrival from school on Mondays. Each educator introduces a cooperative activity once or twice a week that they do together. Continue reading

Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families

The document How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years stresses the importance of Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE’s) engaging in a strong and respectful relationship with children and their families in order to foster a sense of belonging.

In February 2016, Judith Colbert PhD was the keynote speaker at the Welcoming Newcomer Children Conference who spoke about meeting and responding to the needs of young immigrants and refugees. Judith shared that young newcomers have distinctive needs arising from their settlement experience which may differ from other children in child care programs. Continue reading

Where Are They Now?: Rebecca’s Journey (Updated)

RL1Previously published in the Spring-Summer  2006 issue of ACCESS Integration.

Rebecca, born on February 1st , 1990, has Down Syndrome and lives with her mother, father and older sister, Monika.

Rebecca has been integrated into regular child care settings since she started day care at the age of two and a half at Dow’s Lake Day Care. It was there that support from Children’s Integration Support Services began.

Rebecca started her school years at St. Patrick’s Elementary School and attended the Barrhaven Child Care Centre school age program. When she first started at the day care, integration was a new concept and a “learn as you go” approach was taken by Rebecca’s family and teaching team.  Rebecca’s parents were very appreciative of the team that was assembled to help and for the ongoing support of their Resource Consultant. Continue reading

Children with Multiple Handicaps

Throughout Canada, changes are being made to facilitate and provide a positive inclusion experience for all children with special needs.  In our society, it’s important that we emphasize the dignity and value of each child.  The myth that only “some” children can be included is false, all children can be included with the proper community support. The key to a successful inclusion experience is team work and communication.  We need to remember that the parents\guardians are such a vital part of our team.

Here are some strategies that I’ve used as a preschool teacher.

Basic guidelines:

  • Project a positive attitude when working with the children.  Optimism is catchy.
  • Be flexible, be prepared to make changes, adaptation to the program and/or toys to ensure a positive inclusion experience.
  • Consult with the parents\guardians, your Resource Consultant and therapists about the different methods of carrying and positioning their child.

Continue reading

How Does Learning Happen? The Four Pillars of the Ottawa Story

25-yearsTwenty five years ago, our community had a vision that saw each child as a child first. They wanted a supportive and inclusive system that was flexible as well as responsive to the changing needs of families, children and teaching teams. The hope was to reduce or eliminate social isolation which was experienced by so many families with a child with special needs. By making this happen one child and one child care program at a time, supportive relationships were formed so that each child would reach their optimum development and experience the true meaning of belonging. Continue reading

Our Breakaway Season

Hockey WP / Dave Di Biase

I remember that July day when my husband, Robert, suggested that our 7 year old son Tyler join the local House League Hockey team in September. My heart sank. Since Tyler had a speech-language delay, he faced challenges in communicating at the same level as his peers and making himself understood. Although he had a lot of friends, these frustrations sometimes impacted him socially.  Robert strongly felt that hockey would improve Tyler’s social skills, help him feel like part of a team, and expose him to life experiences like other children his age. I questioned whether it was already a little late for him to start hockey. I then realized that the potential benefits outweighed my worries about whether he would fit in and I gave in. Continue reading