Renfrew Educational Services – The Wheels On Our Bus Go Round and Round

The Cause

At Renfrew Educational Services, we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and require an educational program that meets their individual needs. Renfrew Educational Services is a not-for-profit society and registered charity that has been welcoming children and parents since 1974. Renfrew has been a leader in education for children with special needs, and their typically developing peers for 43 years and has a student population of over 650 in five locations throughout Calgary.

One of the programs we offer families is focused on daily living skills in a home and community setting with an emphasis on training and coaching parents/guardians/family members in the various strategies and materials we use.

Renfrew is offering 72 families an opportunity to participate in onsite days at two of our schools from July 4 to July 21, 2017 (9:30am to 2:30pm). The purpose of these onsite days is to provide a learning experience for children/students to take the skills and strategies they have gained throughout the year in a 1:1 setting and transfer it into a group setting, with support. We will focus and target the following:
• Socialization in a controlled, well supervised environment;
• Play skills with peers with support;
• Community safety and awareness;
• Regulation skills (will have access to specialized equipment and specialty rooms at the sites);
• Small therapy groups with therapists to work on specific therapeutic needs.

Parent education sessions are also offered at the end of each week where professionals (therapists or community resource groups) will present, discuss and review different topics and strategies (i.e., How to help your child get and stay regulated, information on different resources for families out in the community). Hands on modelling, handouts, parent networking and time for questions are available throughout the week.

Renfrew will provide door to door bussing to all families in need throughout Calgary and surrounding areas. Bussing will be offered for the 14 onsite days (Monday to Thursday for both pick up/drop off, and Friday pick up only). We are applying for The Field Law Community Fund to support with bussing costs for up to 72 families. This will allow the children/students to be transported to Renfrew Educational Services so they can participate in July onsite programs.

Who Will it Benefit?

The onsite days will benefit 72 potential children/students ranging from 2.5 to 7 years of age with severe disabilities. The majority of our population is children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as a couple with Cerebral Palsy, however our doors are open to any diagnosis that fits the criteria for severe disabilities. We are offering the onsite days for families to participate in a setting where they are learning and utilizing strategies in a non-threatening supportive environment.

Onsites will benefit:
• the children/students by enhancing skills and presenting opportunities to generalize these skills in new
environments with different population of people;
• parents/guardians as they will get hands on training and education from professionals;
• siblings as they will have supervised play opportunities with their brother or sister and a coach to facilitate the play.

This group setting provides families a chance to network with other families - to connect with other families who have similar challenges with the hope they realize they are not alone in their journey, create and build stronger community relationships and to have some fun with family and friends.