Angelia’s Journey

Angelia 2017_crop


Angelia is currently ten years old and entering Grade 5. Up to July 2017, she attended The Children’s Village at Bridlewood. My grand-daughter is a curious, creative, energetic, enthusiastic and affectionate child who also has special needs. She has several diagnoses: ADHD, LD and ASD. Labels aside, her challenges include social skills, staying on task, emotional regulation and transitions. Using language to express her needs, wants and to carry on conversations is also difficult for her. Most children learn these skills easily; however Angelia requires extra time to learn these. Without the support from our resource consultant from Children’s Inclusion Support Services (CISS) and the dedicated teaching team of the child care program who implemented the recommended strategies, Angelia would not have been able to continue to attend. I also believe that CISS and the teaching team have played a major role in helping her to grow and develop into the child she is today. Continue reading

A Family’s Letter of Appreciation

Inclusion Poster 18 x 24This morning, Madame Paule Mercier, supervisor at Aladin Childcare Services Inc. – Sainte-Anne showed me the new “Inclusion” poster that Children’s Inclusion Support Services (CISS) created to explain the renaming from “integration” to “inclusion”. Besides liking the great photos of our son Emanuel (as well as our dear friend Elise), the poster and photos really speak to how everyone benefits and is enriched by an inclusive environment. My take is that “integration” implied doing things because one had to do them for legal/political reasons, whereas “inclusion” implies doing things because everybody wins and everybody benefits. 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

Changing Times

AFCS-CISSSpring was a time of new beginnings for the CISS team. A change in the program name to Children’s Inclusion Support Services and a new manager were among the changes for this busy team.

As the new CISS manager, I would like to briefly introduce myself and to extend a thank you for the warm welcome along with an invitation to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions about our program. Continue reading

You Can’t Say You Can’t Play by Vivian Gussin Paley explores inclusion and how story-telling and role playing in the classroom can encourage learning and positive social change. It is a reminder of how powerful observing, asking the right questions, and listening to the children we care for can be in our effort to create a space that is inviting for all. The author engages with each grade, Kindergarten through Grade 6 to discuss how they feel about the new rule and to wonder together about how to make it work. Continue reading

In Conversation with Moira D’Aoust

Moira.jpgMoira D’Aoust has spent her career leading the cause for inclusive access to licensed childcare for children with special needs in the region of Ottawa. Moira’s authentic belief that all children belong in and have the right to quality childcare has positioned her to be a leader not only in the city of Ottawa but as a visionary throughout the province of Ontario. As she prepares to leave Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS), she met with some of her colleagues over a pot of tea and baked goodies to highlight stories of her journey’s challenges and successes as well as her dreams for the future.

Q. Before CISS started 25 years ago, what supports and programs were available for parents in the community? Continue reading

The Journey of Inclusion

Times have changed from the 1970’s and so has how we include individuals with disabilities. I write as a sister who witnessed how my older sister was a part of these changes. When many children would be attending kindergarten or daycare, I remember accompanying my parents as they went to various places to have my sister tested. Can she speak, listen, comprehend, walk and balance on one foot? Following the assessment, I remember her moving away from home when she was about 5 and half, to go live at Woodlands in British Columbia. When we would pick her up for a family visit, I can recall seeing the padded rooms, people with helmets, some in wheelchairs while I was walking the halls to get to the children’s ward. While at Woodlands, she was taken on a bus out of the institution to attend a special school, which was a rarity at this time. Our father recalls while driving to work catching a glimpse of her, alone on the bus as she went to school.  Continue reading