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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.

 


 

New Core Services for Children in the OAP (Ontario Autism Program)

Starting in March, Ontario will begin offering core clinical services for children in the Ontario Autism Program. These services include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health supports based on the child's individual needs.

 

Learn more about these new core services by clicking here.

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Research: Adapting Anxiety Intervention for Youth with Autism for Rapid Response to Covid

We are currently studying whether a group therapy program called Facing Your Fears (FYF), will help to reduce anxeity in children and youth with ASD. FYF is a modified cognitive behavioural therapy program for children and youth with ASD experiencing significant anxiety symptoms. We will provide everything virtually so that anyone can participate in this study from home.

 

This study is for children & teens between 8-13yrs old.

 

For more details, click here.

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Caregivers and Challenges with Special Education Needs

A graduate student from Conrad School of Business & Entrepreneurship (University of Waterloo) is doing a study to understand the challenges faced by people providing the frontline care for children with these special education needs. This includes parents, educators, occupational, speech & language therapists, social workers, doctors and behavioural clinicans. The research seeks to find the common pinch points faced by these frontline caregivers, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Participation in the study will consist of a short 10-30 minutes interview at a mutually agreed upon date and time. Interviews will be conducted over the phone. Questions will be focused on your experience finding or providing support for children with Special Education Needs.

 

If you are interested in more details about this research project and would like to participate, please click here for more details OR email May Alonge at malonge@uwaterloo.ca OR call at 1-825-882-1305.

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Have a Heart Campaign

The First Nations, Inuit, and Métis services team at Family & Children's Services of the Waterloo Region is proud to actively support the Have a Heart Day Campaign. 

The idea is simple. People from this part of Turtle Island (Canada) are encouraged to send Valentine's Day cards to the Prime Minister. The message is simple, too: it urges the Prime Minister to “have a heart” and provide equitable funding to Indigenous children and youth so that they have the same chance of achieving their dreams as non-Indigenous children.

For more information and to access the PDF of the card, click here.

Or, if you’d prefer, we have already-printed postcards in our main reception that you can pick up to sign and send off yourself. *To pick up a postcard, please go out main reception at 200 Ardelt Ave in Kitchener.* 

There is no postage stamp needed to send mail to the Prime Minister's Office.

 

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Autism Research Centre is researching a group virtual anxiety intervention for children and teens with Autism

We are currently studying whether a group therapy program called Facing Your Fears will help to reduce anxiety in children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

For more information or get invovled, click here.

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Putting Family Mental Health First: 7 Tips to Get Ready for the Holiday

It’s Been a Hard Year.

Here, at Children’s Mental Health Ontario, we know that many families and children across the province have been struggling deeply with mental health in these very unusual, trying days. On top of it, parents have been working hard for our families to manage health risks and find our way through the pandemic. For example, the return to school has been extraordinary for so many of us, especially those of us with a child or youth struggling with mental illness. These last few months, we have had to forgo traditional celebrations that are important to families and children, such as Thanksgiving dinners or trick-or-treating on Halloween.

And now, the holidays are upon us.

It’s a lot.

But here is the thing: We are doing it!

We are doing our best – and that is good enough right now. We will get through this next stage, too.

 

We know that many parents are going to be working overtime this year to find new ways to recreate the holidays to not lose the magic of the season. We know you want to keep the sparkle in your kids’ eyes, to keep them engaged and connected. With the support of our network of child and youth mental health experts, we have rounded up some tips and ideas to help your family support your child’s mental health and manage the holidays in a pandemic.

Télécharger: Le bien-être mental de votre famille d’abord: 7 conseils pour se préparer à la période des fêtes  

 

1) Prioritize Mental Health in the Holidays

Even in a typical year, the holidays can be an especially challenging time of year for many families. Expectations of the holidays can be hard on children– and, let’s face it, it’s not ‘the happiest time’ for all of us. When you prioritize your or your child’s mental wellness, you can focus on what works for your family. As a parent, consider the things that feel realistic for you to do and then offer those choices to kids/youth to pick from. So many of us struggle with saying no over the holidays – perhaps this year, you will feel confident about not over committing your schedule and slowing things down; and that’s ok! Also, keep in mind that having time to connect with each other is important, but so, too, is having space for everyone to have their own personal time.

 

2) Plan Early

Routines and predictability are often beneficial (within reason) for children and youth with mental health challenges. It’s a good time to start having conversations with children about what the holidays may look like so that they understand things will be different this year and they know what to expect. This also allows them to be a part of the new planning process. What is important to them? Is there something new they would like to try? Planning early also gives us time to let other relatives or friends know in advance to manage their expectations, too. Also, consider connecting with the parents of your children’s friend to arrange days before or after the holidays for play dates, either virtually or in-person/outdoors, depending on local public health advice. This can include coming up with a list of outdoor winter activities.

 

3) Focus on What's in Your Control

While we are all doing our part to manage the pandemic, so much of what is happening in the province – and the world – is out of our control right now. This is a good time to focus on the things that are in your control. When it comes to traditions of the holiday season, consider how you can incorporate the traditions, or at least parts of those traditions, that are most important to your family. What are some of the things your family can do to bring a little holiday magic into your home? It could be a simple thing like baking cookies, preparing a special family recipe, or planning for a holiday nature walk as a way to get outdoors and move. If seeing family is important to you, consider the ways you can do that, for example, setting up Zoom while your different households have a special meal. It won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it.

 

4) Managing Disappointment

For a lot of us, we are going to need to accept that the holidays just won’t be what they usually are. That will be disappointing for a lot of children (and parents!) It’s important to acknowledge that disappointment, especially for children. Give kids a safe space to share their feelings and be heard; let them know this is hard for you, too. Reminding your kids – and yourself – that this is a temporary measure in a very unusual time may make it all feel a little less daunting. Read More from Parenting Author Ann Douglas on How to Help Kids Manage Feelings of Disappointment

 

5) Supporting Children Through Grief

The holidays can be especially hard for families who are grieving. Remembering your loved one, telling stories, and laughing about good times together are all ok to do, and can provide comfort to your child. You might work together to come up with ideas for memorializing your loved one over the holiday. Remember that it’s okay for you child/youth to feel upset as there have been a lot of different types of loss this year.

Read our post on Helping Children Through Grief Here.

 

6) Take Care of You

The holidays can be a stressful and anxious time for parents, too. Make sure that you are eating, sleeping and enjoying the holidays as well. Maintain healthy boundaries. Take time when you need it, don’t feel guilty saying no when you need to. Do what is best for you and your family. Consider planning a day where the family could play a game or watch a movie together. But don’t forget to have some scheduled time where kids can play games and parents can take some time out as well.

 

7) Take Care of You

The holidays can be a stressful and anxious time for parents, too. Make sure that you are eating, sleeping and enjoying the holidays as well. Maintain healthy boundaries. Take time when you need it, don’t feel guilty saying no when you need to. Do what is best for you and your family. Consider planning a day where the family could play a game or watch a movie together. But don’t forget to have some scheduled time where kids can play games and parents can take some time out as well.

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Integration Action for Inclusion School Experiences Survey

This is aimed at learning about peoples' experiences in the school system both during COVID-19 and more generally. It is a longer survey (33 questions) aimed at trying to understand peoples' views and thoughts about schooling during COVID-19 and inclusive schooling in general. It also includes an opportunity for you to let us know your thoughts about a possible name change and if you have any time to spare as a volunteer. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. 

 

Complete the survey here.

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Kerry's Place- Foundational Family Services & Groups

Kerry's Place has lots of learning opportunities for families and groups children with ASD.

 

Check out their Foundational Family Service catalogue here for learning opportunities for parents.

Check out their Groups catalogue here for chldren & youth to participate in & learn new skills.

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Bullfrog Fitness Programming

Check out what's available at Bulldog Fitness starting in October.

 

Kindergarten Readiness Preschool Program Spots Available!

An emergent/activity based program ran by qualified RECE that will assist with social development and school preparation. Using your child’s interests and their own curiosity, we will use creative play and activities to develop many skills including: Numeracy/ Literacy, Science, Cognitive Thinking and more!

 

Days Available: Monday-Thursdays

(Friday spots are available if demand is high)

Time: 9:30am-12:00pm

Cost: $18/per day

 

Call or email us to book your toddler's spot today!

 

Before and After School Spots Available for JK-Gr 6!

Full time and consistent Part time spots available!

Schools include: Ken Danby, William. C. Winegard, Holy Trinity, and Guelph Lake

Working at half capacity to endure safe social interaction with others and following the COVID Guidelines.

 

Before school: 6:30-9am

After School: 3-6pm

Call or email to learn more and how to register!

Click here to learn more!

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CYPT Youth Impact Survey Data Briefs

Waterloo Region, October, 2020 - The Children and Youth Planning Table (CYPT) in partnership with the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) at the University of Waterloo, UNICEF Canada, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) partnered to develop the prototype of a new child and youth well-being survey.  Aligned with the Canadian Index of Well-being (developed by UNICEF Canada), the “Youth Impact Survey” measures and monitors the well-being of children and youth.
 
In July of 2020, the survey was open and piloted for young people, aged 9-18 in Waterloo Region to respond to questions across nine focus areas of well-being that will be shared over ten briefs and provide feedback on the survey tool itself.  About 300 youth in Waterloo Region took the survey and we are pleased to announce that we are sharing more preliminary data.  This is the second release of the Data Briefs, this time, focusing on: physical health, learning, participating and play, which follow up the September release of data surrounding belonging and mental and emotional health.
 
We hope that this information is helpful to those working and supporting children and youth in our community.  The data can help inform the current state of well-being, and can be used in conjunction with additional data and/or as a conversation starter with young people to better understand their specific state of well-being. This release is the next step in sharing information from the Youth Impact Survey, and we look forward to sharing further information across the other focus areas, as well as disaggregated data.
 
CLICK HERE to review the Youth Impact Survey – Data Briefs
Please note: The accessible version of these briefs will be available soon.
 

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