Jenna Wilson, supported child development consultant with Yellowhead Community Services, will be running a new program for families with children who have exceptionalities. The program offers support for both parents and children and is free of charge. Photo by Jaime Polmateer

New group gives support to children with exceptionalities

Clearwater YCS is offering new support program for families with children who have exceptionalities

Yellowhead Community Services (YCS) is offering a new support program for families with children who have exceptionalities and is encouraging anyone who may have questions about their child’s development to drop in and see what information is available to them.

“We’re trying to start a support group for families that have children with extra needs and particularly provide a lot of information for families whose children have been diagnosed, or could be diagnosed, with autism spectrum disorder,” said Jenna Wilson, supported child development consultant with YCS.

Susanne Butcher, manager of Early Childhood Services at YCS, added the organization is finding an increasing amount of children in the area who are going to school and having developmental delays or behaviour issues, though parents don’t seem to be reaching out for the supports available in the community.

In other instances, some children may be overwhelmed in social situations like playgroups because of factors like the loud noise, so parents might opt to stay home with their children attempting to protect them, and to protect themselves from the stigma.

Because of this YCS wants to offer a safe place for both the children and parents to socialize and be free from judgment.

“At the end of the day all children are wonderful; if a parent feels unable to take their child anywhere else we want them to have a group where they come and talk to Jenna and if their child rips all the toys off the shelf, we don’t care. If they throw the toys across the room, that’s okay. We’re okay with that,” said Butcher.

Wilson added at the same time, if there’s concern about any area of development for the children then parents can use the group as a resource to find out more information on what’s expected, what’s unexpected and find out about other services available to them.

Another aspect YCS wants to get across is the group will also help parents connect with other parents in similar family situations, so they can offer one another advice and support.

“Parents are often really good resources for each other and that’s something we want to celebrate and promote,” said Butcher.

“I think one of the ways we’ll do that in the group is provide coffee, refreshments and snacks and Jenna will be there to play with the children and make sure safety is there. If parents want to talk to each other, and if Jenna can answer any questions, she will.”

The group is still in its early stages, but if families are interested and it starts to take off, YCS would consider having a support group for parents to socialize one week and have a group just for the children that targets skills the following week and parents can step out if needed.

Butcher said it’s also important to note that it’s for children up to 19 years old and it’s free of charge.

“Because we’re a small community often getting groups off the ground is quite hard because of awareness. We can provide transportation support if there’s a family that has issues with transportation, all they have to do is phone YCS or message Jenna through Facebook,” said Butcher.

“What we’re really looking for is the relationship piece. We want families not to feel isolated. We want them to feel included and welcome, because when that happens people get stronger and healthier. They’ll be able to go out and socialize more.”

The other hope is families will learn more about their own strengths, weaknesses and challenges, which in turn will help them to advocate.

“For children that have a diagnosis, disability, or need a little extra something to be successful, this is a group where they can find that,” Butcher added.

“I think the sole purpose is to empower families and children to be successful and included in opportunities that are sometimes difficult to be included in.”

The new support group takes place on the second Monday of each month from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. at the Dutch Lake Community Centre Resource Room.

As the program is in early stages, it is not currently offered in nearby YCS locations such as the District of Barriere. However, any families in the district who would like to attend are more than welcome, said Butcher. In addition, if families would like to see the program closer to home, she suggests contacting the local YCS office at 250-672-9773 as the program is needs-driven.

For more information find Jenna Wilson on Facebook or call YCS at 250-674-2600 ext. 258.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19 is an opportunity for change

An editorial for the Barriere Star / Journal

Chamber of commerce asks people to shop local

A letter to the editor of the Barriere Star / Journal

Are you changing your habits because of Covid-19?

Arne Tolborg: Yes, more hand-washing. I work for the school district so… Continue reading

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Most Read