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E: info@wrfn.info

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From time to time, the Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN) is asked to distribute information on behalf of third parties. WRFN provides general information to self-advocates and families of children with special needs. The information provided on this website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider. WRFN is not responsible for any information or services provided by third parties. You are urged to use independent judgment when considering any resource.



SkateABLE Kitchener

SkateABLE™ is Canada’s only high-quality adaptive ice skating program for children with physical and developmental disabilities.


This program is developmentally appropriate for children with a wide variety of challenges including: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, muscle weakness, as well as autism, down syndrome, learning disabilities, and other developmental delays.

All adaptive equipment is provided free of charge.


Program Dates: Tuesdays, January 15 - March 12, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location: Lion's Arena, 20 Rittenhouse Rd., Kitchener 


Registration for SkateABLE™ Kitchener is available now at www.skateable.ca.

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Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Autism Spectrum Disorder Fundamental Training Course

If you’re the caregiver of a child (under 18 years of age) with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and have a strong desire to increase your knowledge and understanding of this diagnosis, Kerry's Place Autism Services has an exclusive offer for you!


Kerry’s Place Autism Services is offering this training course FREE as a Foundational Service through the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). To qualify, families must have a child registered with the OAP. Not registered yet? Call the OAP Single Point of Access at 1-877-374-6625 (press 1) to register today!


This unique training opportunity will include:

  • 12 modules delivered in six full days
  • Group and individual activities
  • Weekly assignments to enhance comprehension, skill development, and confidence
  • The opportunity to work with other parents in a supportive and dynamic learning environment
  • A certificate of participation


January 18, 25, February 1, 8 March 1,8, 2019


9:30 am –3:30 pm


Sunbeam Centre-training room - 2749 Kingsway Drive, Kitchener


For more information and registration please contact:

Amanda Polesello at Amanda.Polesello@kerrysplace.org or 519-763-5812 ext. 28

Registration is first come first serve basis. Spaces are limited.

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WRFN Newsletter - December 2018

Just like that it's December! In this edition of Family Pulse you will find information about:

  • SEAC
  • the WRFN Annual Appeal
  • WRFN E.D. Recognized for Leadership
  • What's happening at WRFN
  • Coffee Club updates
  • Perfect Pitch
  • Reducing Holiday Stress
  • Upcoming community events

Read the online version of Family Pulse here.

Down a PDF copy here.

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Autism Ontario - "Waterloo Stars" Adaptive Soccer Program

Children with ASD, ages 3-18, are invited to attend 10-weeks of soccer with the Waterloo Minor Soccer Club.  Siblings, ages 3-18 are also invited to join in on the fun!


The WMCS's Waterloo Stars is an adaptive program for children ages 3-18 to have a positive experience on a soccer team. 


For this event, there will be full and private use of indoor field for 1 hour weekly. Waterloo Minor Soccer Club will provide team jerseys, shorts, socks and a ball for each child registered. 


Children will go through warm up exercises, break out into skills training and then end with a short game.  Cues will be taken from the child, siblings and parents and activities can include balancing balls, Frisbees, volleyballs, softer balls, hula hoops, smaller nets, etc.  It can be a very diverse hour but it is an hour of physical activity.


**Parents must participate with their children on the field**

Please note shin guards are required.  Parents must provide shin guards for all participating.


Cost: $30 per child

Dates: January 12 - March 16

Time: 3:00 - 4:00pm


For more information or to register click here.

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KidsAbility Program and Activity Guide Winter 2018-2019

Are you looking for programs or activities for you or your child? This guide highlights some of the great programs geared toward both caregivers and children and youth with special needs. They feature KidsAbility, Firefly and community-based activities and resources.


Program and Activity Guide - Winter 2018-2019 

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Aldaview Services March Break Respite Program

Aldaview Services is running a March Break Respite Program. This program is for individuals with a developmental disability in Grade 9 and up.


Activities include:

  • arts & crafts
  • music
  • games
  • social time and much MORE!

Fees are based on participants' needs and activity costs.


Aldaview Services is accessible by GRT.


Dates: March 11 – 15, 2019

Time: 8:30 – 3:00

Location: Aldaview Services, 332 Hamilton Road, New Hamburg, Ontario


For registration contact:

Mary Hartman



Respond by February 22, 2019

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WRFN Annual Appeal

'Tis the season...for Sharing & Giving
Please Donate Today!!


With the holiday season upon us and the warm and fuzzy feelings of family and gratitude that accompany it, we are thankful for those who make a difference in the lives of WRFN families.

This year we decided to revisit our roots as a reminder of why WRFN was originally needed and created. As one of WRFN’s five founding parents, I would like to share my family’s story with you while highlighting two of our current core programs.

Meet Kevin

He was born prematurely 29 years ago weighing just 2 pounds, 1 ounce. Kevin was missing pieces of his lungs and was hooked up to every machine imaginable.

And then… the ventilator blew holes in his lungs. There were more complications. For every step forward, Kevin took two steps back. He remained in hospital, 65 kms away from our family in the ICU for the first two years of his young life. During that time, Kevin underwent five surgeries while my husband and I struggled to navigate the hospital system.

And then…Kevin came home with an entirely new system of care for us to learn about. Our home looked like a mini ICU with a stream of professionals coming and going, daily. Imagine…all of that chaos and    no privacy. We didn’t have to imagine…we lived it. My husband and I, and our older son, were grateful  but felt isolated and alone.

For years, we wondered if there were other families traveling the same uncertain journey. And, if so, how could we meet them?

Twenty-Nine years ago there was no Waterloo Region Family Network. But, today, we are here for families when life takes an unexpected turn.

Parents benefit from our Parent Mentor Program where they are directly connected 1:1 with a volunteer parent mentor – someone who gets it and can truly understand their grief – the life they wanted for their child and the dreams they had, stolen.  

Families are also directly supported by Erin, our Family Resource Coach, who provides personal guidance to each family she meets helping them to understand supports and service available to them and how to access them. The need for this role and support is increasing every day. Erin has already supported 225 new families this year in addition to those already supported through our network. It’s necessary to ensure that we continue to meet this growing need.  

We could not provide these, and other programs, for families without your support. That’s why we are asking for your help this year. Your donation, today, will be matched by two friends of WRFN who have once again generously committed to matching the first $15,000 raised in our campaign.


For your convenience, you can donate easily online now.


Our network has already helped over 1700 families connect to vital resources in our community as well as to each other. But, we know there are many more out there who need us.

We ask that you please share our campaign with a friend and help us reach our campaign goal of $45,000.

Together, we can make sure that no family is ever alone!

With gratitude and warm wishes for the holiday season!

Sue Simpson
Executive Director

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Adults In Motion (A.I.M.) Fall Newsletter

A.I.M. has shared their fall newsletter! Find information on:

  • the Annual Jingle Mingle
  • AIM end of summer party
  • volunteering at AIM
  • Oktoberfest

Read A.I.M.'s fall newsletter here.

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Bridges to Belonging - Advisory Council Membership Invitation

Please see the following message from Bridges to Belonging.



"Bridges to Belonging is pleased to announce the establishment an Advisory Council of volunteers to serve as a subcommittee of the Board of Directors. 

Advisory Council members will be ambassadors for the vision, mission, values and principles of Bridges to Belonging Waterloo Region and are community stakeholders with lived experience, past or current recipients of independent facilitation, family members and like-minded community members.

Our vision is “Waterloo Region is a community where everyone belongs – where we value meaningful relationships, honour choices and dreams and celebrate the uniqueness of each person.”  We exist to walk along side people with disabilities to build on their unique abilities and live a good life in community with their families and social circles.

Advisory Council members will provide the Board with valuable input, insights and recommendations related to: emerging ideas and issues related to inclusion; full citizenship and community as a first resource; independent facilitation and creative housing; and the voice of the people, their families, networks and the community that we are in service to.

You are invited to submit a Letter of Interest to the Board of Directors of Bridges to Belonging for consideration articulating your knowledge and commitment to our values, the principles that guide our work and mandate of inclusion with full citizenship to info@bridgestobelonging.ca.

Letters of interest will be received up to December 14, 2018.


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"Building and Learning Together" - KidsAbility

KidsAbility™ Centre for Child Development is offering the "Building and Learning Together" training through their KidsAbility Autism Program.

“Building and Learning Together” will provide you with weekly workshops, supported with hands-on coaching. Using the Behaviour Skills Training Model of instruction, modeling, behavioral rehearsal, and feedback, you and your family will be supported in learning strategies to apply with your child on a daily basis. 


Workshop topics will include:

  • Reinforcement and Pairing
  • Functions of Behaviour
  • How to Increase Positive Behaviour (while decreasing less desirable behaviour)
  • How to Enhance Communication
  • Use of Visual Supports to Increase Independence
  • Developing Play Skills

At the end of each workshop you will receive a skill practice sheet outlining what was discussed, and recommendations for practical ways to put your learning into everyday practice.


This workshop is being offered during the following times:


Tuesdays | 9am—10:30am

January 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19, March 19

Register: "Building and Learning Together" (Guelph - Fall 2018)


Tuesdays | 6pm—7:30pm

January 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19, March 19

Register: "Building and Learning Together" (Kitchener - Fall 2018)


Wednesdays | 9am—10:30am

April 10, 17, 24, May 1, May 8, 15, June 12
Register: "Building and Learning Together" (Waterloo - Fall 2018)

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Waterloo Region Family Network
December 10, 2018
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