One way or another, we will all be affected by disability. Whether we experience it ourselves or through a loved one, disability can affect anyone at any time, whether it is due to a congenital condition, disease, illness or injury. In our province and the rest of Canada, disability is a significant challenge right now. One in seven Albertans has a disability, and as our population increases, so will the number of persons with disabilities.
For many children with disabilities, it is difficult to find inclusive recreational services. Leisure and recreational activities are instrumental to child development, as they help youth develop skills, socialize, discover interests and enjoy life. Children with disabilities can experience Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which causes individuals to experience a delay in the development of motor skills. DCD makes it difficult for children to perform daily tasks and physical exercises. Picking up sporting equipment like a hockey stick, or skating on ice are challenging, as these children may not have the balance, coordination, strength, endurance and sensory processing like a typical child would have. These skills are necessary for children to participate in community recreation and sports teams. In Calgary, approximately 6 per cent of school-aged children have a DCD diagnosis, which equates to over 12,000 Calgarians.
Vecova respectfully requests your support to provide funding for our Empower Abilities program to expand and increase its capacity. The Empower Abilities program is committed to helping children ages 4 to 21 build confidence and ability in movement and motor play. The program provides assessment and treatment services for children with DCD. A physical therapist leads the program, and children work one on one with a therapy aide to develop their basic gross motor skills. Class sizes are small to provide more focused training to each individual child. This program also takes place in a group setting, which allows children to interact with each other and develop teamwork and social skills. However, the high cost of the program is a barrier to enrollment for some children. With your support, Vecova would be able to lower costs, increase the program capacity and support more children with DCD. The overall goal of the program is to have each child gain the capacity, confidence and independence needed to successfully transition into community recreation or sports.
Who Will it Benefit?
The Empower Abilities program is open to children and youth ages four to 21 who have a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which causes them to experience delays in the development of their basic gross motor skills. The program is open to children who register for the program and complete an assessment by the program's physical therapist, which will determine if they are a good fit for the program.